"On the 15th. May 2012 I attended a meeting of EFSA in Parma on behalf of FEDFA. It was decided that it was most important that I took this opportunity to tell the meeting not only the practical aspects of deer farming, but also to learn the reasons for this meeting.


The EFSA had been asked by the EU Commission (SANCO) to find and specify the biohazard risks to the products as a result of current husbandry and slaughter practice. It appears that they wish to be briefed by the industry in order to improve their understanding of their job and thus do it a little better. This means that they should find the areas where to increase health safety controls for monitoring pathogens, residues etc. I then gave them a presentation, after which I was asked various questions specifying inputs into deer farming for example, what kind of antibacterial or antiviral treatment do we give our animals beside antiparasitics? Is there a potential risk of toxoplasmosis etc.?


There were 24 people on that panel, 7 of us appearing as "experts", representing the farming of deer, reindeer, ostriches, and domestic rabbits.(They were asked to include lagomorphs.) There were 10 people from EFSA, plus 7 people as external EFSA specialists in different health areas (Universities, research institutes, governmental health agencies etc.).


This was already a third panel for domestic animals, but this one was based on game species including their breeding/husbandry. Minutes and draft of the meeting will be sent later for approval. My general impression was that I did not expect to find such a weak knowledge of game farming from the EFSA "experts". Thus our presence as experts from farming industry was necessary. This could be really dangerous and detrimental to our industry in case they recommend of new regulation to SANCO, which would suppress farmed game even if is farmed on organic principle and producing one of healthiest red meats since ever. FEDFA must at least see and approve the report before being sent to SANCO. I also questioned them as to why they are so afraid of farmed animals, and not seemingly bothered about wild hunted animals!


Radim Kotrba


(President FEDFA)

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