The European Commission recently announced it would establish an emergency veterinary team that would provide the support of European experts if needed to respond rapidly to animal disease outbreaks in the European Union and Third World countries.
The establishment of the team formalizes a support structure that has existed for many years and has been used, for example, in assisting Turkey and Romania in tackling avian influenza outbreaks in 2006.
The goal of creating the team was to have experts in the fields of veterinary medicine, virology, wildlife, laboratory testing, risk management, and other relevant areas on standby, ready to respond when an animal health crisis arises.
When necessary, members of the team will be sent to the affected member state or Third World country, to provide technical assistance and to work with local authorities in bringing the disease situation under control. The team will also collaborate closely with experts from international organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
To learn more about the European Commission's activities in animal health and welfare, visit http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/index_en.htm.