Sector Must Lobby - Locally & At EU Level
"The thoroughbred horse breeding sector must pro-actively lobby
politicians at European as well as national and regional levels
in order to ensure that the interests of the sector are protected
and given fair representation," according to Ms Eimear Mulhern,
Chairman of the European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeder's Associations
It is estimated that over 153,000 thoroughbred horses are represented
by the EFTBA and that there are 144,000 full time equivalent people
employed by EFTBA members. Founded in October 1993, the EFTBA membership
spans 22 countries, 13 of which are members of the EU.
Speaking at the 9th Annual General Meeting of the EFTBA in Paris
today (Sunday 12th May, 2002), Ms Mulhern, from Ireland, made the
point that in the past 12 years the European Union has passed no
fewer than 126 legislative acts, which impact on every aspect of
horses of all types.
MAJOR REFORM OF EU PHARMACEUTICAL LEGISLATION
In a joint presentation to the AGM by Eimear Mulhern and Cathal
Lynch from the Irish Business Bureau, the AGM heard that professional
lobbying and representation has started to yield results for the
One major example cited relates animal therapies or Maximum Residue
Limits (MRLs) for antibiotics. "EU legislation did not previously
differentiate between the treatment of horses intended for human
consumption as horse meat; versus the treatment of horses which
are never intended to be used for the production of foodstuffs,"
explained Ms Mulhern. Additionally the Commission had established
a "passport" identification system for breeding and production
horses; but had failed to amend previous Directives which impacted
on the effectiveness of the passport programme.
Ms Mulhern and Mr Lynch reported that extensive lobbying by the
EFTBA over a number of years on the issue of equine medicines has
resulted in the most fundamental reform of EU pharmaceutical legislation
for many years. Measures have been endorsed by the European Parliament,
with the relevant modifications to EU legislation and EU codes expected
to be complete by mid 2003.
Other examples of the impact of lobbying on the thoroughbred sector
OLYMPIC SOLUTION - ST PIERRE & MIQUELON
Whilst the EFTBA has been promoting the need for improved quarantine
facilities for some time, the forthcoming Olympic Games in Athens
in 2004 were of particular concern. The French islands of St Pierre
& Miquelon, located between Canada and Newfoundland, have now
successfully passed EU inspections and although they are not designated
quarantine stations, they can be used as a point of entry with full
EVERY COUNTRY HAS A ROLE TO PLAY TO SECURE RESEARCH FUNDING
As a result of meetings with the EFTBA and the IBB, the EU allocated
EURO 1.2 million in its 4th EU Research Framework Programme into
Reoviridae viruses (bluetongue, African horse sickness and epizootic
haemorrhagic disease) The results of this research can be seen at
www.eaveu.org . A further EURO 2.3 million funding, provided as
part of the 5th EU Research Framework Programme, continues work
into the areas of Reoviridae Viruses and Culicoides-Borne Viral
Diseases, with research currently ongoing.
"With the 5th Research Framework Programme finishing in December
2002, it is necessary for the EFTBA and its members to ensure that
funding for equine related research continues to be allocated within
the 6th EU Research Framework Programme and beyond," said Ms
Mulhern. "National Thoroughbred Breeding Associations can provide
vital support in this by lobbying their own national Agricultural
or Research related Ministers as well as their MEP's to ensure that
there is awareness of the need for equine research."
EU STRUCTURAL FUNDING FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT
The representative body in Ireland (ITBA) has demonstrated within
the 2000-2006 Structural Funding that equine programmes such as
development of breeding infrastructures and equine training can
qualify for support measures within agriculture & rural development
or employment & human resources respectively. During 2003 work
will start on the 2006 rounds of EU Structural Funds which are operated
through national Governments and members are urged to try to achieve
similar measures in their own countries.
EFFORTS MUST BE SUSTAINED IN THE FUTURE
"Close monitoring of international and EU issues must be sustained,
particularly in relation to CAP (the Common Agricultural Policy)
and in relation to the possible EU legislative changes aimed at
avoiding a repetition of the Foot & Mouth Disease crisis last
year," said Ms Mulhern.
Looking forward, Ms Mulhern also said she hoped that further progress
would be made on the development of centralised EU Community Reference
Library and on the development of harmonised testing procedures
for the equine sector.