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Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek thanks the chief veterinary officers of the European Union for their work during the epidemic

By: UKOM

Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek has attended a meeting of chief veterinary officers of the Working Party on Animals and Veterinary Questions. The event is traditionally organised in the framework of the presidency of the Council of the EU. The highest representatives of veterinary services meet to work, exchange views and socialise.

In his opening speech at the meeting of chief veterinary officers, Minister Jože Podgoršek stressed that veterinary services had done very important work during the Covid-19 epidemic, performing veterinary services and official controls under the changed circumstances despite the restrictions. He added that in the future they would have to face numerous challenges together. “The Farm to Fork Strategy envisages reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock farming. This means that new standards will be introduced. The Council of the EU noted and supported the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative. Together, we have to find solutions for the future of livestock farming with greater emphasis on animal welfare.”

Chief veterinary officers thanked Matjaž Guček, Director-General of the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection, for organising the meeting since they consider it essential to come together and meet in person. Director-General Guček added: “The possibility to meet and discuss the current issues in person is very important. It enables us to resolve the outstanding issues more effectively, which is crucial for our work.” At the meeting, which closes on Friday, chief veterinary officers will discuss digitalisation in the veterinary service, the reactions to the general session of the Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), which was held virtually this year, and the state of amendments to the Official Controls Regulation.

They also discussed the agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom and its influence on the trade between the countries. The representatives of the European Commission updated the delegations on the outcome of the first meeting between the EU and the UK on sanitary and phytosanitary trade rules, which was held in September.

Tomorrow, chief veterinary officers will go on a field trip to Sečovlje Saltpans to see how the saltpans function and discover the natural habitat. The area provides a habitat for rare, endangered and typical plant and animal species with a characteristic saltpan ecosystem, which was created due to the long-lasting human action.

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