Within the 88th International Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad, experts from the project „Reinforcement of Animal health and welfare“ held presentations on measures to control Africal swine fever and the importance of animal welfare for sustainable agriculture.
„High standards of animal health and welfare are important for the competitiveness of products in the local and international market. If we do not have ensured welfare conditions on farms, adequate biosecurity measures and disease control, animal health can be endareged, which affects food safety and consequently human health“, said Project coordinatro and Head of Animal welfare department of the Veterinary Directorate Maja Andrijasevic.
Project Manager from the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Andrej Papic, said that animal diseases know no borders. „Therefore, disease control requires a coordinated approach by several countries, which is also supported by the EU. The best example is multi-annual regional program of the oral vaccination of foxes against rabies. Thanks to that EU program implemented in cooperation with the Veterinary Directorate, since 2019 no new cases of rabies in foxes have been recorded in Serbia“, said Andrej Papic.
Speaking about the importance of implementing adequate measures to control African swine fever, Team Leader and Animal health expert Petras Maciulskis said that „zoning and regionalization measures are precisely those that slow the spread of the disease, reduce the negative impact on pig production and guarantee safe trade“. The zoning of the areas affected by the African fever implies that neither animals nor animal products can be exported from the infected area where the virus appeared.
Animal health expert on the project „Reinforcement of Animal health and welfare“, Katarina Tosic said that biosecurity is the most important instrument of the prevention of African swine fever. „Strict application of basic biosecurity measures on the farm and knowledge of risks factors for African swine fever are key to preventing the introduction of the disease. The way of thinking of all those involved in the pig production sector is crucial, not only the infrastructure of the farm, fences, locations, cleaning, disinfection and other measures are also important“, said Katarina Tosic.
Antonio Di Nardo, key animal welfare expert on the project said that, since agriculture is a very important industry in Serbia „the livestock sector still needs to grow and develop, to face both domestic and export needs“. He added that the system of marking and certification of animal welfare friendly will soon become a reality. „It is the right time for farmers in Serbia to invest in infrastructure more suitable for animal welfare-friendly farms, slaughterhouses and plants for processing animal products in order to be included in the future system of animal welfare certification. It will be mutual beneficial- for both farmers and animals“, Di Nardo said.
The project „Reinforcement Animal health and welfare“ supports the Veterinary Directorate of the Ministry of the Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management in harmonizing national legislation with the European Union and international standards in the field of animal health and welfare and biosecurity measures.
The presentations held during the Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad are part of the campaign „Za naša polja – EU za poljoprivedu“, which is jointly conducted by the EU Delegation and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management.