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AHO Aktuell - 16.03.2001

Tierseuchen: Die FAO warnte schon 1998

(aho) - Anläßlich einer Pressekonferenz in Brüssel am 17. Februar 1998
warnten Vertreter der FAO (UNO-Landwirtschafts- und Ernährungsorganisation)
die EU und die Regierungen der Mitgliedsländer davor, daß sich Tierseuchen
in viehdichten Regionen Europas und durch Tiertransporte in Europa rasch
verbreiten können. Insbesondere durch die Öffnung des osteuropäischen
Wirtschaftsraumes seinen neue Verbreitungswege für Tierseuchen entstanden.
Die FAO forderte auf, Mechanismen und Vorkehrungen zu schaffen, sofort auf
Tierseuchen reagieren zu können.

Nachfolgend der Originaltext der FAO - Pressemeldung:

FAO - Press Release 98/05

Brussels, 17. February -- Europe may face further devastating animal
disease epidemics due to long-distance transport of animals and
increasingly dense livestock units, the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) warned today. In the past, nine of the fifteen major
epidemic livestock diseases recorded internationally occurred in Europe.

The trend to long-distance transport of animals and animal products has
accelerated in Europe, FAO said. It is now commonplace for piglet to be
transported between Member States for fattening.

"In addition, the transition of the economies of Central and Eastern
Europe has led to substantial growth of exports to the EU. Trade routes
between Europe, the Middle East and the Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS) are reviving and it is possible for an animal infected with
Foot-and-Mouth Disease to enter into Central or even Western Europe if
its owners succeed in evading border controls. Civil wars or unstable
political situations, as in the Balkans and the Caucasus, lead inevitably
to migrations of people and animals which increase the threat from
diseases," said Yves Leforban, Senior FAO Animal Health Officer.

Furthermore, dense livestock units tend to favour the rapid spread of
infections, according to FAO. In certain parts of Europe farms contain
thousands of animals, kept either for breeding or fattening. The
density of pig farms is extremely high in certain parts of Belgium,
the Netherlands and northern Germany where there are up to 9,000 pig
units per square kilometre of agricultural land. "These farms are a
source of increasing environmental pollution, which should not be
tolerated anymore," Leforban said.

There is a need for planning authorities to stimulate initiatives
towards reducing this density. Countries such as Denmark have already
taken steps in this direction and the Netherlands is examining the role
of the pig industry after the devastating epidemic of Classical Swine
Fever of 1997.

For the safe movement of animals, certification and identification are
essential, supplemented by an effective system of checks on identity
and health status of livestock at international borders, FAO said.
Within the EU all livestock holdings are registered and cattle
identified by ear-tag. The identification of other species, notably
pigs, is difficult and this has created problems during epidemics.
In other European countries identification may vary within a country.

FAO urged the European countries to set up a harmonised herd and animal
identification system, adding that all European countries should also
have a contingency plan in order to promptly react to an outbreak.

Veterinary services should have the means to respond immediately to
an emergency. FAO warned that the "institutional coherence" of many
European veterinary services is being destroyed by two forces: the
drive to reduce the size of the public sector and the fragmentation of
services caused by the delegation of power from national to regional

It is questionable whether the current practice that only the public
sector bears the cost of controlling epidemics and compensating the
private sector for losses incurred should be maintained. "This
arrangement does little to encourage sanitary measures within the
industry," according to FAO, which said a compulsory insurance scheme
for livestock owners could be an alternative.

FAO has set up an information network covering the Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and other countries in the region which
disseminates information on veterinary biotechnology. This initiative
supports countries to promptly diagnose and control diseases using the
new technologies. FAO's Regional Office for Europe has developed a
system of research co-operation in order to improve animal disease


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