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EUROPEAN LIVESTOCK ASSOCIATION

 

Conference: 'Towards a Durable Global Animal Health Policy'

Provisional Date: October 17th 2007

Venue: European Parliament, Brussels

 

 

Background:

 

The European Livestock Association (ELA), formerly known as European Livestock Alliance, is a non-profit organisation registered in the Netherlands. It was founded in 2001 by a number of committed breeders and scientists concerned by the mass-slaughter policy to control the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in both the UK and Netherlands.

 

It now has members in UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands, and its primary objectives are:

 

To encourage, support and advise on systems of animal production and conservation in Europe which are compatible with acceptable standards of animal welfare, genetic diversity, protection of the environment and rural infrastructure.

 

To collaborate with other organisations which are sympathetic to the objectives of ELA. These include veterinary, scientific, ecological, conservation, rural and food interests

 

Conference 2007

 

Europe has started a new phase in animal disease control policies, and later this year the Commission will publish its Animal Health Strategy 2007-2013 (CAHPS). This presents an important opportunity for all stakeholders, including policymakers, to join in the discussion on future animal disease policies.

 

ELA believes that animal health policies will have a greater chance of success if they are developed with the wide support of stakeholders, and has prioritised animal health by making it the theme of this first conference. The conference would be the beginning of the first serious pan-European contribution to policy development. The European Parliament is eager to join in the discussion and, most importantly, receive a cohesive response to theEU plans, prior to formalisation / implementation of policy.

 

ELA has secured the support of Thijs Berman and Jan Mulder, Dutch MEPs, and of Elisabeth Jeggle, German MEP to host the conference. The European Parliament is hosting the meeting, and will provide facilities, interpreters, etc. ELA will organise and finance the event, and may offer attendance assistance in some cases.

 

All interested organisations will be invited to attend, with the opportunity to share their views with a number of MEPs to better inform them of the thoughts, ideas and needs of those likely to be affected by such policy changes.

The European Commission's Communication on its Animal Health Policy (CAHP) 2007-2013 could be a starting point for the various stakeholders to share knowledge and opinions with politicians and policy makers at national and European level in order to find common ways forward. ELA would therefore like to facilitate that process by inviting the various stakeholders for a public debate about the new CAHP, that will be published in 2007.

 

The discussion at the conference will focus on the following issues:

 

  •          Animal disease prevention

    o       Preventative vaccination

    o       Bio-security (at all levels) and disease surveillance

    o       identification and registration of animals on holdings and during transport

  •          Animal disease control. What measures can be used to control outbreaks of infectious animal diseases?  Emergency (ring) vaccination), culling or both?

  •          Subsidiarity and coherence:  What are the tasks and responsibilities of Member States, EU and stakeholders? What level of preparedness is needed?

  •          Does the EU expect the same disease preparedness and disease control measures in third countries that export animal products to the EU and other countries in an increasingly globalised world?

  •          What could be the effects of climate change on animal health?

  •          How to ensure two-way and effective communication between authorities and stakeholders?

  •          Financing the new policies: who pays?

     

    Future animal disease outbreaks are likely to affect all animal keepers.  Among them, there are also keepers of rare breeds and endangered species and farmers who keep animals  extensively (organic, bio-dynamic, free-range).  One of the issues is how to involve them and those who keep animals for non-commercial purposes (hobby animal keepers) in the process. 

     

     

    Participation

     

    ELA is requesting support from interested organisations and persons for the following initiative.

     

    The longer-term aim is for the conference to provide the foundation for a collaborative consultation structure for European stakeholders in order for them to be effectively represented when policies are being developed, rather than reacting to detrimental legislation when it already is in place. The European Parliament supports ELA's plan to develop this structure, and ELA is eager for other organisations to commit themselves to ensuring its success. We will try to consolidate such a set-up later in the evening with all the interested parties during a separate meeting.

     

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