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Knowledge Based Bio-Economy

Animal production and breeding, health and welfare

EU supported research in KBBE recognises the global changes and drivers concerning the international markets of animals and animal products, the increase in international trade including the animal protein and new food products demand, competition between products for food and for energy; effects of climate change.

Animal health and non food-borne zoonoses

All of these directly influence the ecology and evolution of infectious agents, their vectors and hosts giving rise to emerging and re-emerging animal disease threats. Consolidating collaboration at EU level is imperative but further emphasis must be made in involving industry including SMEs in the early steps to ensure a realistic approach in the exploitation and delivery of products, and in bridging the gap between technology and application. As animal disease is a truly non-border respecting global issue it is also important to reinforce European leadership at international level through increased collaboration with relevant third countries. Concerning zoonotic diseases, collaboration between animal and human health must be encouraged in line with the “one health” approach . Coordination with other thematic areas of FP7 and COST should be ensured such as Health, Environment, ICT, Socio-economic science, and Biosecurity.  The following initiatives and organisations also drive forward the policy direction in this sub-area ETP GAH; SANCO (CAHP); OIE/FAO/WHO;EFSA; WTO-SPS; EU-US Task Force; SCAR.

Food-borne zoonoses; antimicrobial resistance

During FP6 a large amount of research has been launched on microbiological safety of food and related issues. However, there are still important areas for research. Campylobacteriosis was the most frequently reported food-borne zoonosis in EU in 2006 according to the EU reporting system. Research needs to be performed to tackle the issue of anti-microbial resistance at veterinary level, complementary to the research in public health.

Animal welfare

Support to policy development and in particular the Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals. It will continue to develop work on animal based welfare indicators. It is important that transparency will be present in the food chain regarding animal welfare outcomes. Better recording systems will allow farmers and consumers to fully understand the consequences of their actions, including purchase, on the welfare of animals and sustainability of farming.

Farm animals; nutrition; optimising production efficiency and safety

There remains a need for research on: basic gut physiology, including interaction with gut flora and feed additives; the area of gut colonisation, in particular bacterial genes involved in colonisation; systems of management (e.g. weaning age, diet formulation, health status) that minimise the need for additives in feed; the interaction of bacterial additives: competitive exclusion, activity and efficacy of bacteriophages

Farm animals; breeding, including reproduction for optimised production efficiency

The breeding industry is driven principally by SMEs, though consolidation in some sectors is changing this dynamic. Developing and exploiting hi-tech breeding strategies are the only foreseeable method to increase productivity and stimulate competitiveness while addressing the wider concerns of society and this is consistent with the Commission’s objective of supporting the development of biotechnologies, and the overall concept of the Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy. Of high importance, is the spin-off of knowledge development in animal breeding on sustainable, quality and, typically, regional small-breeds in Europe: reproductive technologies and high level breeding knowledge will be key for the viability of these sectors. The added value of investments in genetics is cumulative and sustainable.