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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

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Updated on 21/09/2016

Animal health and welfare

Keywords : ANSES, Animal diseases, Feed, Animal health

Animal health can be threatened by a variety of pathogens, some of which can also affect humans. ANSES is helping to mitigate and combat major current and emerging animal diseases affecting domestic animals or wildlife, thus helping to protect public health. There follows a review of ANSES’s work in this area.

Just like human health, animal health can be affected by a variety of pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. Some of the diseases affecting animals can also affect humans (zoonoses). By improving animal health, ANSES is also helping to protect public health, including veterinary public health. The Agency fosters the safety of foodstuffs and the security of food supplies, monitors emerging risks to human health and helps assure the financial soundness of production sectors.

ANSES helps mitigate and control major current and emerging animal diseases, whether they affect domestic animals or wildlife, including echinococcosis, avian influenza, tuberculosis and the Schmallenberg virus, and whether they are:

  • transmissible to humans directly, e.g. rabies and Q fever, or through food, e.g. BSE, listeriosis or salmonellosis;
  • specific to animals, such as foot and mouth disease, swine fever, bluetongue and some livestock diseases incurring considerable financial losses, such as piglet wasting disease.

Through its research, its in-house expertise and the collective expert appraisal system recently set up by the Risk Assessment Department, ANSES is also helping to protect and promote animal welfare.

ANSES’s focus on animal nutrition includes assessing animal health and nutrition risks, the advantages of products or treatment processes and risks arising from foodstuffs of animal origin intended for human consumption.

Through the French Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products, ANSES controls and assesses the quality and efficacy of veterinary medicines. It also studies their safety with respect to animals, humans and the environment.


Investigating animal diseases

ANSES laboratories investigate pathogens. The Agency analyses the causes behind the outbreak and spread of pathogens on livestock farms—whether arising from domestic animals or any wildlife reservoirs—that may be fostered by farming conditions and feed. It also studies host/pathogen relationships and ways that pathogens can cross the species barrier. Within its Risk Assessment Department and through collective expert appraisals, it also assesses the risks associated with animal diseases, both with regard to production sectors and public health.


Improving animal disease control

Through its research and reference laboratories, ANSES is developing diagnostic tools to monitor the outbreak and spread of various diseases. It develops means of prevention, such as vaccines, and investigates alternative treatments by identifying the risk factors involved, often related to livestock farming conditions and herd or flock management.

Key figures

  • 7 specialised laboratories conduct research focusing on a particular livestock sector. Reference laboratories for several diseases, they provide scientific and technical support to the French authorities, the European Union and international organisations.
  • Several expert committees involving some hundred or so scientists from different disciplines assess the risks arising from animal diseases and veterinary medicinal products.
  • 1 reference laboratory investigating veterinary drug residues helps monitor the proper use of veterinary medicinal products and resistance to antibiotics.
  • The French Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products—an animal health authority—inspects, authorises and assesses veterinary medicinal products while participating in the drafting of numerous regulatory and technical documents.
  • ANSES leads or is a member of some 20 epidemiological surveillance networks. It is also a founding member and key player in the French epidemiological surveillance platform for animal health.