Animal health and animal welfare go hand in hand, Germany’s top vet said in Hanover today during the opening of Eurotier, the big international farming and farm business event.
Speaking as President of the German Federal Association of Practising Veterinarians, Dr Siegfried Moder told a Eurotier audience there was still confusion among consumers about what animal health and animal welfare really means.
“Although there has been an encouraging amount of progress, there is still a lack of agreement in society about what animal husbandry should look like tomorrow and thereafter,” he said, adding that the large number of animal welfare initiatives currently underway in Europe means that consumers no longer have a clear overview of the issues involved.
As for current understanding at farm and veterinary levels, he said there was still definitely a lack of integration of animal health issues, with the industry caught between consumer health protection, animal welfare and profitability.
“In view of the precarious earnings situation throughout the (EU farming) sector, its profitability is becoming increasingly more important,” said Dr Moder (pictured avove). “Nevertheless, every farm has 10-30% untapped potential that is connected directly with herd or flock health.
“Consequently the basis of successful farming is, and remains, healthy livestock. Accordingly, it is vital to implement the EU Animal Health Law in such a way that regular herd and flock visits by the farm veterinarian are compulsory, such as the Pig-keeping Hygiene Regulation,
“Good veterinary herd health care provides valuable services for both animal welfare and consumer health protection as well as giving legal protection for the farmer as food producer. It also helps to enable the profitable production of high quality foods with healthy animals.
“Furthermore, integrating veterinary herd health care by the farm veterinarian makes it possible to lower treatment costs, ensure more targeted use of veterinary medicinal products and, at the same time, further optimise the use of antibiotics.”