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MEMO/08/685

Brussels, 7 November 2008

Questions and Answers on the European Veterinary Week

How was the idea for a European Veterinary Week (EVW) conceived?

The concept of a European Veterinary Week (EVW) – based on an initiative of the European Parliament- was developed within the context of the Animal Health Strategy (AHS) for the European Union (2007-2013), and in particular within the context of its two underlying principles, partnership and communication

What is the theme for the EVW?

In line with the EU's AHS where "Prevention is better than cure," the main theme of this first Veterinary Week is biosecurity. Indeed, biosecurity measures aim to keep diseases out of groups of animals or to limit the spread of disease within an animal population.

What are the aims of the EVW?

The overall aim of the EVW is to increase the public's interest in EU animal health and food safety matters. One of its main goals is to increase awareness of the AHS. It also aims to increase the implementation of biosecurity measures at farm-level, involving veterinarians as a key relay for this message. This will ensure that stakeholders and consumers are aware of the latest developments and they understand how they can be involved in future steps of the strategy. The EVW also intends to increase awareness on the risk posed by illegal introduction of animal products brought into the EU from travellers arriving from countries outside the EU and finally reduce this risk. Overall, the aim of the EVW is to increase the public's interest in EU animal health and food safety matters.

How is the EVW campaign structured?

The EVW Campaign is divided into two different actions; one addresses biosecurity on the farm and the other biosecurity at borders.

Biosecurity at farm-level covers measures to prevent the introduction, or limit the spread of animal diseases at farm level. To promote best practice, a 2009 calendar with 12 key biosecurity tips (one for every month of the year) has been put together in 22 languages and will be distributed to veterinarians and farmers.

Biosecurity at borders covers the measures to prevent the introduction into the EU of animal products or animals, which may represent a risk for animal health. Stringent biosecurity measures are applied to commercial imports of these commodities. However, travellers also have to take account of biosecurity measures when bringing animal products or their pets into the EU. People usually are unaware of the risks associated with such introductions and, in most cases, they do not know that these are illegal.

This part of the campaign therefore will aim to increase public awareness of biosecurity measures and explain what actions they can take to ensure that animal diseases are kept out of the EU. This information will be conveyed in all major EU points of entry (airports, ports and other border crossings), through posters and a video. In addition, there will be information stands distributing leaflets to travellers. The aim is also to encourage airlines to screen the video in-flight.

Who are the main partners of the EVW?

The EVW has been organised mainly by the European Commission together with Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE). The main Commission Directorates involved were the Health and Consumers and the Taxation and Customs Union Directorate-Generals. In addition to the FVE, several stakeholder organisations with an interest in animal health issues have also been involved. Furthermore, national authorities were strongly associated with this initiative, especially the group of Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) and the Customs Policy Group, its equivalent for customs matters.

When and where is the EVW campaign taking place?

This first EVW is taking place during the week of 10-16 November 2008. Although a number of actions will be taking place during that week, the campaign will be extended by a roadshow that will travel across the EU for over 6 months.

On the 10th of November, a launch conference will take place in Brussels with the title "One Health: Healthy Animals = Healthy People." During the week, there will be events in all EU countries to promote biosecurity, involving professionals (veterinarians, farmers, and customs officers) and the general public.

At farm level, veterinarians will be the relay for the dissemination of information to farmers and for the promotion of best biosecurity practices for effective disease prevention. At borders, a series of actions will be organised in airports, ports and other border crossings in cooperation with the National Veterinary Authorities and Customs Services, to inform the public about the rules governing the introduction of animal products and pet animals.

On Friday 14 November, the roadshow will be present at the EuroTier agricultural exhibition in Hanover, Germany.

In addition, during the period 10 November – June 2009, a roadshow will travel across the EU for over 6 months and visit agricultural and tourism fairs and veterinary conventions. It will also visit airports or public events, in the different Member States, and will distribute information to professionals and the general public.

What is the planned itinerary for the roadshow?

The roadshow will be travelling around the EU until June 2009, and the plan is that it will make stops in all EU Member States on the way. The roadshow has a busy itinerary and it will visit numerous agricultural, veterinarian and tourism fairs or be present at various public events. The roadshow will start in Brussels on Monday, November 10, and then stop off in Karlsruhe on Wednesday 12 and then move onto Hanover to be present at the EuroTier agricultural exhibition on Friday 14. The following week, it will be present at an agricultural fair in Marches en Famenne (Belgium). The detailed itinerary for therRoadshow can be found on the website http://www.one-health.eu/

Is there a EVW planned for 2009?

In light of the positive feedback we have already received from Member States, veterinarians, stakeholders and the general public, it seems that it would be beneficial to have a European Veterinary Week on a yearly basis. The Commission has therefore started to plan the 2009 EVW.

What is the Animal Health Strategy for the European Union?

The AHS for the European Union (2007-2013) provides the framework for animal health and welfare measures and sets out strategic aims and objectives for animal health for the period 2007-2013. Given the devastating impact that serious disease outbreaks can have on farmers, society and the economy, the new strategy is based on the principle that “prevention is better than cure”. The aim is to put greater focus on precautionary measures, disease surveillance, controls and research, in order to reduce the incidence of animal disease and minimise the impact of outbreaks when they do occur.


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