Spaniard Miguel Ángel Higuera was named chairman of the group this week. He said implementation of a new animal welfare law and tackling infectious disease were his top two priorities for his 24-month tenure.
“In the next two years, I will work hard to ensure that the new EU animal health law and delegated acts are implemented well and make sure that the concerns of farmers and cooperatives are taken into account,” he said in a speech this week.
“I will also continue to work on the different animal welfare initiatives and ensure that they are properly enforced. We already have some of the highest health and welfare standards in the world and consumers should be better informed on this.”
Responsible antibiotic mission
Higuera is pig veterinarian by trade and runs a family farm producing both cattle and cereal.
Tackling antibiotic resistance is also a central aspect of his strategy. “We will continue to explore new ways to promote the responsible use of antibiotics in farm animals,” he said.
“Recent reports nevertheless show that there has been a decline in sales of antimicrobials for food producing animals. This confirms that EU farmers are making every effort to reduce their use and we will continue to encourage this.”
He added antibiotics should be used “as little as possible, and as much as necessary” – a motto that has become popular across Europe’s livestock industry in recent months.