EU to spend €188 million tackling animal diseases such as BSE

The European Commission has approved a financial package to fight animal diseases in the EU. The EU budget for 2005 will tackle transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) and a range of other animal diseases that impact on animal and human health.

A total of €188 million will be available and overall funding has been increased by €41 million since 2004, reflecting the high level of importance attached to disease eradication measures for the protection of both animal and public health.

David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said: "We are dedicating increased resources in 2005 to fight animal diseases. Healthy animals are the key to safe food. Today’s decision reflects our on-going commitment to supporting pro-active monitoring, preventative action, and disease eradication.”

€ 98,100,000 will be made available from the EU budget for the monitoring of BSE. All cattle for human consumption older than 30 months, all dead-on-farm cattle and emergency slaughtered cattle over 24 months and all suspect animals independent of their age have to be tested for BSE. The EU co-finances testing for BSE and BSE eradication programmes across Europe.

Scrapie eradication measures are in place, requiring the culling and genotyping of animals in infected flocks. Breeding programmes have also been established for TSE resistance in sheep. This year, €32,775,000 is being dedicated to scrapie eradication programmes.

The new financial package has been decided following the submission by Member States of their monitoring and eradication programmes for 2005. The programmes have been evaluated by the Commission and the Commission has adopted the maximum possible EU financial contribution. The distribution of programme funding across the Member States can be found in Annex I.

Each year the Commission adopts a list of programmes for the eradication and monitoring of animal diseases and for the control of zoonoses (diseases like salmonella that are transmissible between animals and humans, particularly through food), which qualify for a financial contribution from the EU. For the year 2005, 82 programmes have been submitted to tackle 10 major animal diseases. The total EU contribution to these programmes is €55,085,000.

Within this budget, diseases that might be transmitted to humans are prioritised. €34,775,000 will be spent on the eradication of brucellosis, which causes Malta disease in humans (€13,975,000 on sheep and goats brucellosis and €20,800,000 on bovine brucellosis).

Bovine tuberculosis is also known to be transmissible to humans, so significant sums will also be used to combat the remaining cases of this disease (€12,555,000). €4,080,000 will be spent to fight rabies, a highly fatal viral infection of the nervous system.

In addition to the programmes for the eradication and monitoring of animal diseases, programmes of checks aimed at the prevention of zoonoses are included in the list. A financial contribution of €2,280,000 to control salmonella in 8 Member States has been approved.

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