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September 17th 2010 ~ If the transport industry were not so mighty....
From an email just received from the Netherlands, in response to the paragraphs below:
"I don't know about other countries. But whenever we have general meetings on animal disease control with representatives of all the branches of the industry, the transport spokesman has one stereotype answer to the question about the risks of importing through transports:
"It's very simple; transports are perfectly safe, but bird flu falls from the sky, FMD comes with a sandwich, CSF walks in with the wild boar and BT blows with the wind." And from the respected international animal rights organisation ANIMALS' ANGELS, we see that some small steps towards improvement are being made - not by the reams of regulations on paper produced by the EU, but by the persistent care of grass roots compassion.
Well very poetic of course, but far from the truth.
If the transport industry was not so mighty, monitoring and survey would be better and they wouldn't get away with such an answer, I think."
September 17th 2010 ~ DEFRA concluded in 2009 that "introduction of EIA to the UK through legal trade in horses from the EU to the
UK would be low likelihood".
See www.defra.gov.uk...eia-eu-update090415.pdf about the Trade Control and Expert System, TRACES, a single database designed "to improve the management of animal movements both from outside the EU and within the EU". We have had two serious incursions of EIA (Equine Infectious Anaemia) this year suggesting that DEFRA's faith in "TRACES" may be misplaced. During the H5N1 scare in 2007, Barry Gardiner MP reported that TRACES (See Hansard) "is not currently functional" - and the EU database was unable to identify the source of the Suffolk H5N1 outbreak at Bernard Matthews' factory-cum-slaughterhouse. On Feb 19th 2007, Juan Lubroth, head of the Infectious Disease group at the UN's FAO, spoke these ominous words on Farming Today :
"I don't have a good idea of what percentage the informal or illegal trade represents to the world trade. I do have access to a lot of statistics through FAO on what a country exports - but I don't know where they export to. I have a lot of information on which countries are importing- but I don't know who they're importing from..." One concerned emailer writes today: "... all borders are porous. It is scary how much potentially contaminated stuff is imported illegally everywhere in the world."
September 17th 2010 ~"all borders are porous"
Following the detection of Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA) in the imported horse in Northumberland this month, the charity World Horse Welfare is sending out a disease pack offering advice to vets and owners on the prevention and detection of diseases such as EIA. Via the Netherlands this month and via Belgium in January, our recent UK cases were all sourced from heavily infected Romania. (See also ProMed posting)
The charity, World Horse Welfare, has been doing work in Romania since
2004 and is concerned that - although there is a legal requirement for
health certification before export from Romania, which includes blood
testing for EIA - the EU Commission needs urgently to review the
export procedures for horses leaving Romania.
As with the threat of all exotic disease such as foot and mouth and H5N1, one can only repeat the advice given by World Horse Welfare with reference to EIA: the EU should fund and bring its expertise to a successful eradication programme where the disease is endemic (FMD in Turkey is a most urgent case in point) to
get rid of the disease once and for all instead of assuming that "monitoring" can keep these diseases out.