The threat of Avian Influenza to animal and human health

10 Mar 2022
Avian influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease that spreads through wild and domestic birds. AI is not a new phenomenon, however in recent years the virus has become more widespread, with several factors such as globalisation and international trade, live bird markets, and wild bird and migratory routes contributing to its spread.

Professor Doctor Thijs Kuiken from Erasmus University Medical Centre, the Netherlands, will be joining the Intergroup on Thursday the 24th of March to share information on avian influenza and its continuous threat to humans and farmed birds. This disease is a huge cause for concern resulting in a high number of deaths, provoking responses from animal welfare advocates as well as the poultry farming industry.

Millions of animals are suffering from the effects of illness and mass killings for disease control. For example, recently in France, farmers were ordered to cull 2.5 million animals after an outbreak of avian influenza. This is a repetitive seasonal issue and the Intergroup is keen to know what actions the Commission is taking to minimise the frequency and necessity of mass killings due to avian influenza.    

Dr. Iulia Delia Cohen, DG SANTE, European Commission, and expert on avian influenza will give a presentation on how this issue is being addressed by the EU Animal Health Law. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published in 2017 a scientific opinion on avian influenza and since then quarterly reports on its development in the EU and worldwide have been available. 

All suspected cases of AI in poultry and captive birds must be inspected in accordance with the Animal Health Law. Dr Cohen will take us through how effective the Animal Health Law is in terms of reaching the objectives laid out to mitigate the development of widespread cases. 

Join the Intergroup on Thursday the 24th March at 09:30 CET to learn more.