Description of the Action
Biosecurity is of paramount importance to prevent the introduction and spread of pathogens and, consequently, to preserve the health of farmed animals. Healthier animals result in better animal welfare, better sustainability of animal production systems and less antimicrobial use. Despite these benefits, biosecurity is limited by different factors:
- lack of knowledge on ways for improvement, especially in extensive systems or settings with low resources;
- shortage of adequate ways to enhance communication;
- diversity of methodologies to assess and measure the implementation of biosecurity measures and their cost-effectiveness and
- a low number of trained professionals.
To approach these challenges, the Action will evaluate how biosecurity is currently used and will use participative approaches to understand motivators and barriers for biosecurity implementation. Knowledge generated through them will act as the baseline upon which to develop adequate communication and training on biosecurity.
The Action will also perform a comparison of existing methods used to evaluate biosecurity. Exploiting these tools will promote the development of tailored options in farms based on the evaluation of their risks, on the feasibility of selected biosecurity measures and on their economic benefits. Moreover, the Action will identify training needs through the evaluation of existing training materials and will develop new courses, increasing therefore the number of trained professionals.
Finally, the Action will recommend priority research areas for future biosecurity improvement in animal production systems. The Action objectives will be achieved through a transdisciplinary group where Early Career Investigators will play a key role in their attainment.
The overall aim of the Action is to reduce the risk of infectious disease introduction and spread by improving the implementation of biosecurity measures in animal production systems.
Nowadays, health and welfare, safety and sustainability are crucial elements for ensuring the future of livestock production. Biosecurity aims to prevent the introduction and spread of pathogens within and between farms and, consequently, results in better welfare, increased food safety and better sustainability. In addition, biosecurity measures act as a barrier against the periodic emergence of transboundary diseases.
The present Action is supported by the growing interest for biosecurity but also based on the increased number of research projects on these aspects. Although there is an increasing number of groups working on different aspects related to biosecurity, their level of collaboration and networking is relatively low and, therefore, a better communication and coordination mechanism is needed between the different groups in order to give a common voice to those in the field (i.e., farmers, veterinarians, traders, decision makers and the general population).