Quarterly news, views and activities from the European animal health industry I April 2007

Message from the Managing Director

News from IFAH-Europe

Latest EU News & Developments

Animals Health News

News From Around Europe

Animals are good for you

Animal health explained

Calendar of events


Dear Reader,

The arrival of bluetongue disease into Northern Europe last autumn highlights the difficulties of controlling animal diseases. Will the disease spread across Northern Europe in the coming months? How damaging could it be to animal health and welfare? What trade implications will arise? Can we develop vaccines on time and in sufficient quantities? Should we vaccinate? Nobody has the answers to these basic questions.
IFAH-Europe is working closely with the European and National authorities to come up with the answers. We have been collaborating with and looking forward to the policy recommendations from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on how to deal with the disease.

Due to the increase in trade, movement of people and animals and possibly climate change, we must recognise the ongoing likelihood of new diseases arriving into Europe and becoming established. This reality highlights the need to maintain and strengthen our research capacity in the animal health area.
At the invitation of European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research, we have represented the European Technology Platform for Global Animal Health (ETPGAH) at a number of events designed to publicise the launch of FP 7. The control of existing and new animal diseases features strongly in the recommendations from the ETPGAH.
We are pleased that some of the key recommendations from the ETPGAH are the subject of calls for research by the Commission. We look forward to additional calls over the seven year life of FP 7 and to delivering many of the priorities identified by the ETPGAH.

* Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research and technological development for the period 2007 to 2013.

Best regards,

Declan O'Brien
Managing Director




IFAH-Europe conference on regulatory best practice June 2007

IFAH-Europe is delighted to announce that its next conference will take place in Brussels on 6 June 2023 in the Brussels Marriott Hotel. In line with the recent initiative by Commissioner Verheugen and the German presidency on better regulation in the EU, IFAH-Europe intends to gather the animal health sector and the authorities to reflect upon better regulation for the Animal Health industry under the title “Veterinary medicines regulation – Is Europe still at the cutting edge of innovation?”. The panel of speakers will include representatives of the European Animal Health Industry, the European and US institutions and national authorities.

Technical workshop sessions will take place in the afternoon to allow a direct dialogue between companies and legislators and create an in-depth understanding and appreciation of each side’s views, concerns and restrictions.

Further information and a detailed programme will be sent in due course and made available on the
IFAH-Europe website, http://www.ifaheurope.org

European Technology Platform for Global Animal Health (ETPGAH):
Developing an action plan

Encouraged by the European Commission, IFAH-Europe launched the ETPGAH (European Technology Platform for Global and Animal Health) in 2005. The platform presented the ‘Vision 2005’ document outlining how it planned to achieve its core aims. 2006 saw the publication of a strategic research agenda (SRA). The ETPGAH is now moving to its next level of activity in developing an action plan. 

Four co-ordination groups, consisting of experts from across the EU, met in November 2006 with the task of proposing actual research and/or information gathering initiatives that need to be taken to deliver the 61 recommendations in the SRA. 

For IFAH-Europe, the ETPGAH has been and continues to be a positive and proactive initiative. Members of the ETPGAH include agricultural sector stakeholders such as COPA-COGECA (farmers), EFFAB (animal breeders) EuropaBio (biotech), representatives of the EMEA (European Medicines Agency), international agencies such as the WHO, the OIE and the FAO, universities, research institutes, national government ministries and animal welfare groups.

Please refer to the ETPGAH website for further details:




European Commission to establish an EU emergency veterinary team

The European Commission adopted a decision to establish an emergency veterinary team, to provide the support of European experts if needed to respond rapidly to animal disease outbreaks in the EU and third countries.

The team will be made up of animal health experts who are available at short notice to assist with major outbreaks of certain diseases, such as avian influenza, bluetongue and foot-and-mouth disease. When necessary, members of the team will be sent to the affected Member State or third country, to provide technical assistance and to work with local authorities in bringing the disease situation under control. The group will also collaborate closely with experts from international organisations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The establishment of the team formalises a support structure which has existed for many years and has been used, for example, in assisting Turkey and Romania in tackling avian influenza outbreaks last year.

For more information, see: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/index_en.htm

CVMP adopts public statement for prudent use of (fluoro)quinolones

The EMEA’s Committee on Veterinary Medicinal Products (CVMP) adopted  at its meeting on 13-15 February 2007 a public statement on “the use of (fluoro)quinolones in food-producing animals in the European Union: development of resistance and impact on human and animal health” (EMEA/CVMP/SAGAM/184651/2005).

The document critically reviews information on the use of fluoroquinolones in food-producing animals in the EU, its effect on the development of resistance to this category of antimicrobial agents in bacterial species that are of importance and potential impact for human and animal health.

IFAH-Europe actively contributed to the drafting of the standard statement. Our federation fully endorses the principles of rational use of fluoroquinolones (and antimicrobials of other classes) to ensure optimal clinical efficacy while minimising the selection of resistance.

An overview of the comments received during the public consultation of this guideline will be published on the EMEA website, www.emea.eu.int.




The animal health industry alerts the international community in
Bamako (Mali):
More research is necessary to combat avian influenza

The IV International Conference on Avian Influenza was held on the 6-8 December 2006 in Bamako and gathered political decision-makers as well as leading animal and human health experts who focused on the provision of funds for activities to combat Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), particularly in Africa. The conference was convened under the auspices the European Union and the African Union and in close cooperation with OIE.

Peter Jones, the Executive Director of IFAH, called for more research in animal medicines to combat Avian Influenza. He proposed an international stakeholder alliance to develop new medicines to combat HPAI and the need for private-public partnerships to advance vaccine research, with the European Technology Platform for Global Animal Health (ETPGAH) as a model.

“At the Technology Platform we have learned that forging a wide alliance of stakeholders is key to making significant progress to advance animal health. We also believe that such a broad coalition with committed resources is not only possible but necessary to ensure that we win the battle against HPAI as well as other zoonoses on the global level.” Peter Jones said. 

The Executive Director of IFAH suggested establishing a special task force including international organisations and relevant stakeholders to develop a vision and a strategic research agenda for HPAI at the international level.

Peter Jones' presentation at the Bamako conference is available on: http://www.ifahsec.org/press_releases\06065-Speech by Peter Jones Bamako061204 bog font.pdf

Both the IFAH global position and the background document on Avian Influenza are available on: http://www.ifahsec.org/media_room/position_papers.htm

Information on the European Technology Platform for Global Animal Health can be found on: http://www.ifahsec.org/Europe/EUPlatform/Platform.htm

OIE launches WAHID global animal health information database

The World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID) interface is now available on the OIE website and operational. This new extensive database is an important step in OIE efforts to improve the transparency, efficiency and speed with which animal health information is disseminated throughout the world.

Complementary to the on-line notification made by OIE Member Countries through the World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) launched in April 2006, WAHID offers all available data on animal diseases, including zoonoses, per country, region, month and year. Among others, the database also compiles country animal population, exceptional epidemiological events maps, global animal diseases distribution maps or comparative disease status between two countries. The latter application can help define health hazards linked to the trade of live animals and animal products between countries.

“WAHID is designed to provide high quality animal diseases information to all stakeholders including veterinary services, international organisations, trading partners, academics, the media and the larger public. All can access and monitor with us the evolution of animal diseases in one or several countries or regions of the world,” Dr Karim Ben Jebara, Head of the OIE Animal Health Information Department explained.

WAHID can be found on the OIE website at the following link: www.oie.int/wahid.



survey on public attitudes to animal medicines in the food chain

Following on from the successful Food Chain seminar held in December 2004, NOAH, the UK National Office for Animal Health held a seminar on 30 November 2023 to examine the issues surrounding the positive role that animal medicines play in delivering safe food to the consumer.

NOAH presented the results of a survey on public attitudes to animal medicines in the food chain. The study, undertaken by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) examines consumer feelings towards the use of animal medicines, their awareness and their appreciation of the role that medicines play.

A detailed fact sheet was posted on the IGD website and can be found at




Belgian Ethologia association launches DVD to know cats better

Ethologia, the Belgian association for study and information on human/animal relations, has published “Les Chats” (“Cats”), a DVD providing targeted information to allow cats and their owners to live together happily.

The DVD, mainly aimed at a young audience, comes with a set of pedagogical fact sheets to help children understand the fascinating world of felines. It provides tips to help cat owners to understand the specific needs of their cats. The DVD is divided into clearly structured chapters that can easily be adapted into lessons at school. It also comes with a set of fact sheets and exercises that can be used in the class at any time and allow children to learn more after watching the DVD.

This material is an ideal starting point for a broader reflection on the issue of pets, their benefits for humans and on our obligations towards them.

Further information can be found on the Ethologia website in French: http://www.ethologia.be/frans/dvdchats_fr.php (English version online soon)





Pharmacovigilance (PhV) is the monitoring of adverse reactions to medicinal products.

Once a medicine is placed on the market, its licence holder is required to report to the authorities any suspected adverse reactions or unexpected effects from the use of the product that is brought to his attention.

The whole system relies on the end users of medicines to report adverse reactions, i.e. the veterinary practitioners and animal owners in the case of veterinary medicinal products. They can in return benefit from this reporting by guaranteeing that safe medicines remain on the market and gaining better information on the use of a product.

IFAH-Europe is committed to PhV and has published its guide on Good Veterinary Pharmacovigilance Practice in support of pharmacovigilance in April 2004 - 2nd edition to be released shortly.




  • 28 March 2007, Brussels (Belgium): under the German Presidency, “Animal Welfare – Improving by labelling?” Detailed programme
  • 23-25 April 2007, Greifswald-Insel Reims (Germany): 2nd international symposium on animal health disease control in the 21st century, more information here
  • 27-30 May 2007, Paris (France): joint OIE/WHO/EU Conference “Towards the Elimination of Rabies in Eurasia”, see website
  • 31 May – 1 June 2007, Paris (France): Paris Anti-Avian Influenza 2007, view programme
  • 6 June 2007, Brussels (Belgium): IFAH-Europe conference “Veterinary medicines regulation – Is Europe still at the cutting edge of innovation?”  
  • 10-11 June 2007, Bonn (Germany): German presidency conference "Pharmainnovation - individualised drug therapy", more information