Katie's blog: Discussing animal health and welfare with our EU ccounterparts
15th Nov 2023 / By Katie Jarvis
In her latest blog, the NPA's newest recruit, Katie Jarvis, outlines the highlights from a recent meeting of Copa, the EU's umbrella farming body, on animal health and welfare.
On the November 6, I attended, online, the Copa Working Party on Animal Health and Welfare, a group which brings together all the EU farming unions and the UK to discuss key issues in legislation and, at the moment, disease control.
Although the working party is open to all sectors, the majority of the issues affect pigs, which makes it a useful forum for the NPA.
Naturally, a lot of the discussion was around ASF and recent outbreaks. The Swedish representative gave an update on how the Swedish farmers and authorities have managed the outbreak which they discovered wild boar in early September.
On finding the disease, they immediately fenced an area of 1000sq.km around the sites where infected boar had been found. Inside this area, all domestic pigs have been slaughtered and hunting has been banned.
The Swedish farmers’ organisation is working with the Swedish government to determine compensation for the farmers affected. All eyes will now watch the country to see if they can keep a tight control on the disease.
During the meeting we also heard from representatives of DG Santé, the European Commission Directorate which holds responsibility for disease monitoring and control. They reported successful trials of cross-border cooperation exercises between France and Germany, with the aim of carrying out more of this sort of exercise.
We hope that if countries in the EU can successfully contain and control the disease it will help prevent further spread westwards.
Elsewhere the effects of years of ASF are being felt. In Italy and Poland, the economic impact has been huge and is now impacting arable producers as well with the significant reduction in pig numbers (30% reduction in Poland over the past few years).
Italian producers raising pigs for charcuterie are seeing welfare issues where these larger pigs are being held on farm due to movement restrictions within disease control zones.
In Croatia, farmers have been protesting restrictions which have been implemented as a result of more than 1000 outbreaks since the beginning of the year.