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EU: €275 mln to control animal diseases

The European Commission has adopted a financial package of €275 mln to support programmes to eradicate, control and monitor animal diseases in 2010.

The 224 annual or multi-annual programmes, which were selected for EU funding, will tackle animal diseases that impact both human and animal health.

EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou: "The motto of our animal health strategy is 'prevention is better than cure'. If the spread of certain animal diseases is not prevented, it can affect both animal and public health. That is why we are prioritising programmes covering diseases that might be transmitted to humans".

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.

For 2010, 224 eradication, control and monitoring programmes for animal diseases and zoonoses have been approved, for which Member States wish to receive a financial contribution from the Community for 2010.

Animal disease eradication programmes

For 2010, 76 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 around €174 mln. The increased budget for 2010 is mainly due to allocations to counter Bluetongue disease in many Member States and the approval for the first time of a Bovine Tuberculosis eradication programme for UK. TB programmes are expensive and the EU will provide €12M for Ireland, €10M for UK and €7.5M for Spain. Within this budget, diseases that might be transmitted to humans are prioritised.

Zoonoses control programmes

Salmonella programmes have further expanded this year with the inclusion of activities in turkey farms (now turkey, broilers, layers and breeders are covered). Historically, the use of salmonella funds have been difficult to predict and funds have often been underused as a large part of the cost depends on the slaughter of infected flocks, whose value varies considerably depending on the stage of production.

A financial contribution of €26 mln has been allocated to control zoonotic salmonella in poultry (Gallus gallus) and turkey flocks (Meleagris gallopavo) in 25 Member States.

Avian influenza surveillance

Member States will also continue to carry out surveillance for avian influenza in poultry and wild birds in 2010 with financial assistance from the EU towards laboratory testing and wild birds sampling costs. More than €4 mln 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 previous years, allowing early detection of avian influenza in wild birds before commercial flocks became infected.

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Natalie Berkhout

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