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Minister Smith Welcomes European Veterinary Week 2008

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr Brendan Smith TD, today welcomed the launch of European Veterinary Week 2008 which takes place from 10-16 November 2008 and which aims to increase awareness of the EU's animal health strategy for 2007-2013. One of main themes of this inaugural programme 'DISEASES DON'T RESPECT BORDERS' will draw attention to the bio-security measures that currently operate at the EU's borders.

Minister Smith said: "Bio-security is about being aware of the ways animal disease can spread and in taking practical measures that minimise the risk of spreading these diseases like avoiding illegal import of food such as meats and milk products from non-EU countries. Travellers to the EU must be aware that they play a part in preventing the spread of animal diseases that can have serious economic consequences for this country as well as for the Community." Welcoming the special focus on this issue the Minister said: "It highlights the responsibility we all have along with farmers, veterinarians and food businesses to take actions which will ultimately help to ensure the food we eat is safe."

The providers of travel services, airline companies, airports and embassies in Ireland and Irish embassies in third countries are being informed of European Veterinary Week 2008 and of the European Community's rules regarding personal import of animal products. In addition, an information stand in the arrivals halls at Dublin and Shannon Airports will distribute information to the travelling public during European Veterinary Week. There is a general obligation under the Community and National Regulations requiring international transport operators to draw the attention of the passengers they carry into the Community to these rules.

Note for Editors Information

The European Community applies detailed animal and public health conditions on live animals and animal products coming from non-EU countries. Only countries and establishments operating equivalent animal and public health controls approved by the Community are approved to export. In co-operation with Customs Services veterinary inspection controls are applied at EU approved border inspection posts to verify these bio-security import conditions before products can be placed on to the market. Import controls include documentary, identity and physical checks in accordance with EU requirements. Non-compliance may involve seizure for destruction or return to the country of origin. Since 2003 the Community has also operated a ban on ad-hoc personal import of most products of animal origin. Monitoring controls are applied by this Department at the principal passenger entry points for those travelling to this country directly from non-EU countries and through EU hub airports.

Community Rules laying down measures for imports of animal products for personal consumption are in Commission Regulation (EC) No. 745/2004. National implementing measures are S.I. No 267 of 2004. The Commission is reviewing these Regulations and is expected to publish new regulations that will retain the principal restrictions to personal imports.

Web link to Veterinary Week 2008:
http://www.one-health.eu/ee/index.php

Web Link to Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food regarding import of animal products:
http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/index.jsp?file=animal_products/importation/reg_of_importers_animals.xml

Date Released: 11 November 2007