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Health & Consumer Voice - December - 2008 Edition

"One Health": a new website promoting biosecurity in the EU

Lasting from 10 to 16 November, the EU Veterinary Week 2008 aimed to increase the awareness of the EU’s Animal Health Strategy for 2007–2013. The Vet Week action is nonetheless not over, as a wide communication campaign has been launched on this occasion and a new website promoting biosecurity is now available to all citizens. Resulted from a partnership between the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Consumers and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, the campaign "One Health" has indeed biosecurity as its overarching theme.

Biosecurity (‘bio’= life & ‘security’= safety) is about being aware of the ways disease can spread and taking practical measures to minimise the risk of disease occurring and spreading – whether you are a farmer, veterinarian or traveller.

The goal of this campaign is to promote the role of the EU and Member States in safeguarding the health of farmed and domestic animals in the EU and abroad, as well as the health of citizens thanks to safe food and the prevention of zoonoses (diseases affecting animals and humans). Hence the key slogan for the campaign stresses the link between animal and public health: Animals + Humans = One health.

Over the Vet Week, events have taken place in all EU countries to promote biosecurity, involving professionals (veterinarians, farmers, custom officers) and the general public. Using the main theme of biosecurity, actions will target two aspects of this concept: biosecurity at farm level and biosecurity at borders. The week has initiated a six-month roadshow, which will tour public events such as agricultural fairs around the EU and disseminate the campaign’s messages.

Biosecurity is no longer an issue of interest only for veterinarians and farmers but also for the wider public given the unprecedented spread of certain diseases in recent years.

Animal disease outbreaks can have devastating consequences for animal health, the food supply, the economy and society as a whole. That’s why the prevention and control of animal diseases represents a top priority for the European Union. In this frame, the EU Veterinary Week 2008 has represented a first opportunity to reflect on how best we can use biosecurity measures to prevent and limit the spread of disease.

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