Focus on animal health and welfare: BfR participates in European research partnership

Better combating infectious diseases in animals and contributing to animal welfare - this is the aim of the European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare (EUP AH&W), which was launched at the beginning of 2024. The seven-year project aims to promote innovative research projects and facilitate cooperation between relevant stakeholders. It involves 56 research institutions and 30 funding organisations from 24 EU and non-EU countries, including the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). "This partnership is important for animal welfare - and for human welfare," says BfR President Professor Andreas Hensel. "Because protecting animals from pathogens also protects us humans."

The partnership is pursuing a strategic research and innovation agenda that was developed over a period of two years with the involvement of all relevant actors. Topics include infectious diseases of terrestrial and aquatic animals and health risks from zoonoses such as bird flu. The partnership also focuses on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents and ensuring animal welfare at every stage of life. 360 million euros are available for the overall project, half of which is funded by the EU (Horizon Europe research and innovation programme) and half by the partner institutions.

The BfR is leading the "Communication, Exploitation, Education and Dissemination" work package in the partnership. It aims to develop and implement measures for the communication, utilisation, training and dissemination of research results. In addition to strengthening internal communication between the EUP AH&W members, contacts are to be established with a large number of other relevant players and interest groups. This should help to ensure that the results of EUP AH&W activities are utilised beyond the boundaries of the partnership and that European cooperation in achieving scientific excellence in related areas is strengthened. In addition, the BfR is actively involved from the outset as a research partner in order to develop new methods to combat infectious risks.

The partnership is coordinated by the University of Ghent. Through the collaboration of scientists from different disciplines in the fields of animal health, animal welfare and beyond, the "One Health and One Welfare" approach also aims to achieve a social impact. The One Health concept recognises the close link between human health, animal health and the environment. The connection between the safety of feed and food with the environmental impact and the health of animals and humans is considered.

Further information can be found on the project website:


About the BfR

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL). It advises the Federal Government and the federal states on issues of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely related to its assessment tasks.

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