AnimalhealthEurope annual conference explores solutions to realise One Health and fast track innovation and treatment options
This year’s AnimahealthEurope annual conference explored solutions to turn the One Health vision into action. A central platform for the animal medicines industry, the One Health approach prioritises quality of life for people and animals and recognises that healthier animals mean healthy people and a healthier planet.
Entitled “One Health: more than a buzzword? Animal health for society from vision to action” the conference, held on 12 October at the Renaissance Hotel in Brussels, was solution-oriented. Speakers from industry, EU Institutions, academia and veterinary and public health bodies addressed an audience of some 120 stakeholders and looked to identify tangible steps that each must take in realising One Health improvements.
Setting the scene, the European Commission outlined the EU’s policy on One Health and its wide-reaching successes in terms of disease control. The World Organisation for Animal health (OIE) outlined the role of animal health within the One Health triad, highlighting the need for continued cooperation when it comes to disease preparedness at both European and global level.
Several case studies presented served to illustrate the role of healthy animals beyond disease management, highlighting important societal impacts such as supporting food safety and sustainable food production, as well as the many social benefits of animal companionship. AranLIFE, a part EU-funded project, highlighted the role of healthy animals in maintaining biodiversity and the landscape, and how it supports the local economy.
“People rely on the animal medicines industry to help keep animals healthy and protect their welfare and hence innovation in animal medicines and vaccines is important, not only for the sustainability of European agriculture but for society as a whole, as One Health is much more than one-dimensional disease control,” explained Wijnand de Bruijn, AnimalhealthEurope President.
Speaking on the industry’s needs for realising its objective of delivering more solutions for animal health across Europe, AnimalhealthEurope vice-chair Sabine Schueller called for a future-proof regulatory framework that streamlines procedures, reduces administration and encourages R&D investment in order to bring innovations to market and offer wider availability of treatment options. Ms Schueller also underlined the need for reinforced fundamental research to address emerging diseases, and the opportunities for public private partnership.
Two speakers from DG SANTE and DG AGRI detailed initiatives being taken by the European Commission to support the One Health vision. DG SANTE Head of Unit Animal Nutrition and Veterinary Medicines, Christian Siebert outlined the incentives for innovation in the field of antibiotics as well as initiatives being taken to increase medicines availability and fast-tract approval for new vaccines. He also touched on progress in the review of the EU Veterinary Medicinal Products and Medicated Feed legislation. Jean-Charles Cavitte, Research Policy Officer at DG AGRI, explained steps being taken to foster research and innovation in One Health and provided insights into the next research Framework programme after Horizon 2020.
“Today we have discussed with a wide-range of partners the opportunities and challenges in delivering the One Health vision. Working together in cross-sectoral partnership, with each sector applying its strengths and knowledge, we can act to make optimal health and well-being a reality for all”, concluded Roxane Feller, AnimalhealthEurope Secretary General.”
The conference took place the day after AnimalhealthEurope revealed its new name and branding at a gala dinner in Brussels held to celebrate the organisation’s 30th anniversary.