A total of 197 annual or multi-annual programs have been selected for European Union funding, said the commission, the bloc’s executive body. „Safeguarding animal health is an essential factor in ensuring food safety, and in avoiding the often devastating consequences that animal epidemics can have,” said EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou.

For the year 2008, €70 million has been earmarked for the eradication of 10 animal diseases. The contribution represents a significant increase compared to the €53 million for 2007, mainly due to Bluetongue in many member states. Other priorities include control over salmonella in poultry (with €30 million), transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (62 million) as well as bird flu surveillance (with €4 million). (people.com.cn)