As Secretary General and newly elected President of AnimalhealthEurope (since June 2021) we invite you to browse through our annual report to learn more about our efforts to raise awareness on why animal health matters, and how our members are prioritising the development of innovative solutions to ensure holistic animal care and improve animal welfare. Our activities this year also included a look at our functioning and priorities as an association, with the first face-to-face meeting in almost two years. This was a great opportunity for members to reconnect in the physical world and has led to the development of our new strategic direction from 2022 onwards focusing on three priority areas: One Health, sustainability, and innovation.
Beginning with thanks
We would first start with a word of thanks to all of our members and our partners here in Brussels for all the support and efforts made this year. Secondly, we’d like to thank the EU decision-makers who have kindly taken part in our events and remained open to frank exchanges on animal health related topics. And thirdly thanks go to the AnimalhealthEurope secretariat for consistently acting as a strong voice for our industry and the animal carers we serve.
The core of our work – preparing for the new rules on veterinary medicines
Remaining at the forefront of our work throughout this past year, the January 2022 application of the new EU Regulations on Veterinary Medicines and Medicated Feed was a priority for us and our members. We contributed to numerous consultations and provided input when requested on the implementing measures at all stages of the process. With our members we were also very pleased to see the European Medicines Agency organise two Info Days on the latest regulatory developments, to ensure that our membership and the wider animal health sector was up to speed on the changes coming into play. On our side too, we organised two successful webinars for our members on the theme of cross-border sales, with over 800 participants in total.
Moving forward with the Animal Health Law
The new EU Regulation on Transmissible Animal Diseases, also known as the Animal Health Law, became applicable across EU Member States on 21 April 2021, rather aptly following World Animal Vaccination Day (held annually on 20 April). This new law sees a great boost given to the importance of vaccination for prevention and control of animal diseases. Prevention, alongside measures for biosecurity, surveillance, control and eradication, and traceability of animals and animal products are key elements promoted in the law and will be a focus of the advised regular animal health visits moving forward. The Animal Health Law also introduces a new digital system for EU notification and reporting of animal diseases, the so–called Animal Disease Information System (ADIS), with the objective of improving disease surveillance, notification, and control.
A focus on sustainability and One Health
With various policy developments at EU and global level looking at the sustainability of our food systems and the ever-increasing awareness that everyone has a role to play, we have already strengthened our focus on sustainability and One Health this past year. We surveyed our membership to understand better the efforts of our own industry to ensure responsible business conduct, alongside responsible sourcing, research, manufacturing, and use and disposal of our products. In a brochure published during the EU Green Week, Our Sustainability Focus, we outline the One Health nature of animal health products and services and share examples of actions taken to deliver on all three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental.
Looking to new generations of livestock farmers
Our growing focus on new technological and medical advances for more holistic animal health management this past year culminated in a great exchange during our annual event with young farmers and the President of the Executive Board from Wageningen University & Research, Prof.dr.ir. Louise O. Fresco. We see a multitude of benefits in the future coming from greater investment into supporting farmers with access to digital monitoring tools, high-tech diagnostics, and new and improved vaccines. These tools offer the holistic approach to optimal animal well-being we seek, and also support enhanced resource efficiency, reduced food losses and waste at farm level, as well as greater resilience against economically devastating disease outbreaks.
Pets get their own alliance
A final word on our work on pet health and responsible pet care is needed as we launched our newly formed Pet Alliance Europe with the pet food industry association FEDIAF in September. Together we hope to raise greater awareness on the science behind the great human-animal bond and to share pertinent information on best practices for households that include pets or assistance animals. Many of us at AnimalhealthEurope have companion animals in our families, and we can all safely say that the challenging times we are still facing would have been even more difficult to manage without them!