EU planning new animal health strategy

by 5m Editor
20 December 2004, at 12:00am

NORTHERN IRELAND - The European Commission has announced plans to develop an EU wide animal health strategy for all Member States.

The proposal was examined this week at an international conference in Brussels, attended by Ulster Farmers’ Union President Campbell Tweed. The event was hosted by the Dutch Government, who currently hold the Presidency of the European Union. EU Agriculture Ministers will now discuss the views which were expressed at the conference.

Campbell Tweed said; “The European Commission, Governments and farmers across Europe are working to develop an EU animal health strategy. There is an agreement that measures to control disease outbreaks should emphasise the protection of public health and therefore should be properly resourced. This should outweigh any economic arguments in favour of reducing resources or social/ethical concerns which could undermine the effectiveness of policies“.

Campbell Tweed said increased awareness, good surveillance and renewed attention to import control from outside the EU must also be key elements of a new EU animal health strategy.

Mr Tweed said Northern Ireland farmers were very familiar with the problems and cost of diseases such as TB and Brucellosis. He welcomed efforts being made in Brussels to improve agriculture’s ability to prevent and control disease outbreaks, but he emphasised that adequate resources had to be made available by Governments and the EU. He highlighted that the financial circumstances endured by the Northern Ireland farming sector would make it very difficult for farmers to bear more financial responsibility for disease strategies.

The UFU has urged Government to be committed to disease control and eradication but also to ensure that animal health regulations are practical for farmers.

Source: Ulster Farmers' Union - 17th December 2004

5m Editor