Brussels, 30 November 2007
The European Commission has approved a financial package of €186.57 million to support programmes to eradicate, control and monitor animal diseases in 2008. For the first time, for some diseases like rabies, multi-annual programmes lasting from two to five years have also been approved, in order to ensure a more efficient and effective achievement of the objectives of those programmes. The 197 annual or multi-annual programmes which were selected for EU funding will tackle animal diseases that impact both human and animal health. The large EU contribution towards these programmes reflects the high level of importance attached to disease eradication measures, for the protection of both animal and public health.
Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said: "Safeguarding animal health is an essential factor in ensuring food safety, and in avoiding the often devastating consequences that animal epidemics can have. The decision to allocate considerable resources to the fight against animal diseases shows the Commission’s unwavering commitment to this goal.”
Each year the Commission approves programmes for the eradication and monitoring of animal diseases, for the control of zoonoses such as salmonella, for the monitoring and eradication of TSEs and for avian influenza surveillance. These approved programmes receive financial contributions from the EU.
Animal disease eradication programmes
For the year 2008, 61 annual or multi-annual programmes to eradicate 10 important animal diseases have been granted Community financial support. The total EU contribution to these programmes is €70.075.000. The increased budget for 2008 from €52.97.000 in 2007 is mainly due to an increased allocation to counter Bluetongue disease in many Member states.
Within this budget, diseases that might be transmitted to humans are prioritised. Significant sums are being spent on the eradication of brucellosis, tuberculosis and rabies. Following the success of the programmes in recent years which have virtually eradicated rabies in the western part of the EU, most of the activity in 2008 will be focused towards the eastern Member States. €13.847.000 has been allocated to this task. Rabies is spread by infected wildlife and the programmes aim at producing immunity in the wildlife by orally vaccinating them with baits containing vaccine.
Zoonoses control programmes
A financial contribution of €8.606.000 to control zoonotic salmonella in poultry (Gallus gallus) breeder flocks in 19 Member States as well as €21.330.000 in poultry laying hens flocks (first year) have been allocated for 2008. This is three times the amount allocated for this disease in 2007, reflecting the priority which the EU gives to reducing the prevalence of salmonella in poultry
Avian influenza surveillance
Member States will also continue to carry out surveillance for avian influenza in poultry and wild birds in 2008 with financial assistance from the EU towards laboratory testing and wild birds sampling costs. A total of €4.344.000 will be available from the EU budget.
This surveillance is the most effective way to detect early outbreaks of both high and low pathogenic influenzas and was extremely useful in 2006 and 2007, allowing early detection of avian influenza in wild birds before commercial flocks became infected.
BSE/TSE monitoring and eradication programmes
The overall trend is positive and is improving year by year due to a good implementation of the monitoring and eradication programmes in most Member States.
For the monitoring of TSEs, the Commission has agreed to make €62.494.500 available from the EU budget, down from € 88.463.000 in 2007. It includes financial support from the Community that will be used to carry out rapid tests for the detection of TSE in cattle, sheep, goats and deer and discriminatory tests to exclude BSE in small ruminants as in 2007. For BSE eradication programmes across Europe, the EU will give €2.543.000 in co-funding in 2008, down from €5.400.000 in 2007, reflecting the continuing decline in BSE cases.
Compulsory Scrapie eradication measures are in place, requiring the culling and/or genotyping of animals in infected flocks. Breeding programmes continue to be applied for TSE resistance in sheep. This year, €18.184.200 is being dedicated to the approved scrapie eradication programmes, down from €33.592.000 in 2007, reflecting the uptake of funds in 2006.