ANSES celebrates the 60th anniversary of its laboratory in Ploufragan-Plouzané-Niort: “One Health, One Welfare”

ANSES’s Ploufragan-Plouzané-Niort laboratory is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its establishment in Ploufragan in Western France, the most important French livestock region. On this occasion, the laboratory will be reviewing the highlights of its history and the major scientific milestones that have marked more than half a century of research and reference. Optimising the health and welfare of livestock and the occupational health of livestock farmers, monitoring microbial contaminants in food, proposing innovative livestock systems in a "One Health" and "One Welfare" approach [1] the laboratory teams are fully involved in all these public health issues.

Based in the Bretagne and Nouvelle-Aquitaine Regions, the Ploufragan-Plouzané-Niort laboratory specialises in animal health and welfare as well as food safety. It works on all species of farm animals, such as poultry, pigs and rabbits in Ploufragan, farmed fish in Plouzané and ruminants in Niort.

A key player in health and safety issues

The emergence of new pathogens and the re-emergence of old ones threaten the health of farm animals and sometimes consumers. For sixty years, the laboratory's teams have been working on a daily basis to better understand the complex interactions between these pathogens, animals, and farming and agri-food production practices in order to meet the needs of the sectors and contribute to public policy.

The recent avian influenza and African swine fever crises have shown that the re-emergence of these scourges is still possible even within a well-organised health system. The laboratory validates and deploys reliable and innovative methods via a network of laboratories accredited to detect these major contaminants, thus increasing the responsiveness of our veterinary public health system. Conducting high-level research while being able to redeploy its scientific teams to help in the management of a health crisis is one of the strong points of the Ploufragan-Plouzané-Niort laboratory's activity.

Helping to build tomorrow’s livestock sector

By placing livestock systems at the heart of its research activities, the laboratory contributes to the control and prevention of diseases affecting these various sectors as well as the safety of their products. The laboratory also studies new breeding methods to resolve animal welfare and worker health issues, while controlling risks to consumer health and the environmental impact. The laboratory’s work, focused on animal welfare, leads to proposals for innovative livestock systems that are part of a "One Health, One Welfare" approach, for both humans and animals.

Partnerships for research and scientific innovation

The laboratory benefits from the long-term support of local authorities, namely the Bretagne and Nouvelle-Aquitaine Regions, the Côtes d'Armor département, and the Saint-Brieuc Armor Agglomeration. In partnership with the animal production sectors, particularly within the Saint-Brieuc Armor Technopole, the laboratory works with many French institutions (INRA, IFREMER, CIRAD, INSERM, IRSTEA, CNRS, universities, etc.) and international organisations, such as the World Organisation for Animal Health. Thanks to the vitality of its scientific work, the laboratory is also a partner in many research projects funded by the European Union.

These many partnerships have enabled the laboratory to acquire state-of-the-art high-throughput sequencing facilities, in laboratory and livestock buildings with advanced technical and biosecurity facilities where it carries out its research and reference work. The new building dedicated to improving poultry farming conditions that is being inaugurated today is an illustration of the innovative infrastructure that will enable the laboratory to build its future research.

ANSES will also today be formalising its cooperation with the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission (CEA), which is designed to combine the technologies developed by CEA Tech and the biological systems developed by ANSES, to contribute to innovations for the detection, control and prevention of health risks.

With sixty years of significant scientific partnerships, discoveries and results, the ANSES laboratory thus contributes to generating the knowledge essential for the appraisal, assessment and management of health risks.

[1] The concept of "One Health" is an international approach that strengthens collaboration between human health, animal health and environmental management (WHO/OIE/FAO). The concept of "One Welfare" is an approach that encourages the recognition that animal welfare, biodiversity and the environment are connected to human welfare.