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Animal husbandry and the new CAP 2023-2027, between critical issues and opportunities

Interview with Paolo Sani, General Manager Italy Msd Animal Health

The Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies presented in Brussels the National Strategic Plan (Psn) for the implementation of the CAP 2023-2027 which puts in place a unitary strategy of our country on direct payments, common market organizations, rural development, Pnrr and that has put animal husbandry at the center. This was discussed at the round table "The new CAP 2023-2027 - future scenarios for the livestock sector", organized by Assocarni and Coldiretti with the unconditional contribution of Msd Animal Health. (see EFA News article dated 17-2-22).

Thanks to the participation of the main players in the sector, and some representatives of the institutions, an important discussion table has opened on the various strategic objectives of the new CAP, its declination in the national strategic plan for the CAP and the related repercussions on the entire supply chain, including increasing competitiveness, rebalancing the distribution of power in the food supply chain, acting to combat climate change, protecting the environment, safeguarding the landscape and biodiversity, supporting generational change, developing dynamic rural areas, protecting the quality of nutrition and health.

The new agricultural policies derive from increasing public attention to issues such as One Health, which sees the environment, animal and human welfare as closely related. The European Farm To Fork strategy has set specific objectives on delicate issues such as the management of agropharmaceuticals, antibiotics and climate-altering gas emissions. It is therefore inevitable that this ambition will influence the common agricultural policy, and consequently affect the livestock sector.

EFA News interviewed Paolo Sani, General Manager of Msd Animal Health on the subject.

The company is globally committed to preserving and improving animal health and welfare through science. It offers veterinarians, breeders and pet owners the widest range of veterinary drugs, vaccines and good health management solutions. The company invests heavily in large and dynamic R&D and a modern supply chain. MSD Animal Health is headquartered in the US, New Jersey and global sales have reached $ 3.9 billion. To date, the company is a leader in the vaccine sector and in all segments, with the exception of pets, the company has over time developed drugs for animal health thanks to the use of specific molecules.

In Italy, Msd Animal Health is present in Milan with a branch that has 50 employees, in the area with a sales force made up of 71 professionals and in Aprilia with a production site that has 92 employees. Its annual investment is 17% of its turnover in R&D. It should be noted that in the past year alone about 630 million doses of vaccines were sold, with an increase of about 20% compared to 2015.

The theme of animal welfare includes the effort to reduce drugs and antibiotics: what role do producers and MSD play in particular?

"Each company has its own strategies and objectives. For several years Msd has focused its investments in research, on the development of products for the prevention of diseases. In the last seven / eight years we have invested more than 20% of our turnover in research and development for the creation of new vaccines. On the Italian market 87% of MSD's turnover is prevention. If we compare these numbers with those of ten years ago, we will see that they were fifty fifty, they were half therapies and half prevention. because strategic choices have been made based on going to work first on prevention and then on monitoring the animals. For example, studies on the development of antibiotic products have been abandoned. What we do in practice is to try to bring prevention products to the market , basically vaccines. We also try to spread the concept of the conscious use of antibiotics. Therefore, the antibiotic is a therapy product. ngola, not by mass therapies. We have shown that we are against the concept of mass therapy already seven years ago, practically divesting a line of antibiotic products composed of various molecules that were used in drinking water and feed, for mass therapies of pigs and chickens. So we believe that even the antibiotic is an essential tool for animal welfare, because when an animal is sick it must be treated and therefore it is part, even if in a reduced way, of our portfolio. We have also created training for veterinarians in various sectors such as poultry, pigs and ruminants, to spread this conscious use of the antibiotic ".

How important is the collaboration between all the players in the supply chain and what is One Health in practice?

"Our agro-zootechnical world has changed very rapidly in the last five / seven years. Each company has defined what its priorities and objectives had to be. This is not possible because in the end we have only one customer who is called a consumer. And it is not possible for the consumer to reach ten different visions or different concepts. So creating a system and focusing on some pillars that can help our entire sector is crucial. We agreed, together with other interlocutors in our market, that One Health could be the most important concept to spread to the consumer. One Health means healthier animals. Consequently we will have healthier food and above all we will respect what the environment is. Because just investing in prevention means not spreading it into the environment substances rich in active ingredients such as antibiotics", explained Sani.

EU Farm to Fork Project and One Health, what do they have in common?

"The EU From Farm to Fork project, which seems very theoretical, for Msd is actually very clear and very practical. Let's take the example of a farmer who has animals, like cattle. Msd is able to identify them first of all. with a machine or an electronic system. These animals are then subjected to a series of vaccinations for the prevention of the most important diseases such as pastorellosis or hybrids. Consequently they can be monitored thanks to a technological system that tells us how many meters per day, when they sit, how much they drink, how much they eat, how much they ruminate, etc. All information that can anticipate any pathologies. So we are able to bring these animals to the slaughterhouse that will turn into steaks. The final consumer who will go to buy the Florentine in the supermarket, based on this traceability, he will become aware of the entire history of the animal", he added.

"This path makes our final products even stronger and helps us to defend what is made in Italy. We have special productions. Our 180 kilos pork is used to make ham. In other parts of the world they slaughter 110 kilos for make sausages. So, I repeat, the Farm to Fork is the concrete example of what One Health means. Because we are able to monitor the entire health of the animal, know its life, guarantee the consumer a healthy product and of high quality, with the proof of how this animal lived, how it was treated and also evaluating the parameters of animal welfare", concluded Sani.

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EFA News - European Food Agency