France’s Soubeyran elected head of world animal health body

By Thomson Reuters May 28, 2024 | 6:29 AM

PARIS (Reuters) – Emmanuelle Soubeyran, head of France’s veterinary services, was elected director general of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) on Tuesday, succeeding her compatriot Monique Eloit as the world grapples with a severe outbreak of bird flu.

Soubeyran, who had been chosen as the candidate for the European Union as a whole, is also France’s deputy director general for food.

She takes the helm of the WOAH as bird flu is increasingly spreading to mammals, including dairy cows in the United States, raising concern that it could mutate into a virus that could easily spread between humans.

She is familiar with the virus since she had been in charge of implementing France’s bird flu vaccination of poultry, the first of its kind in Europe.

Soubeyran said before her election that her main goals would include boosting links with other international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations’ FAO, after recent crises have shown close ties between animal and human health.

She will also encourage private funding, in addition to public contributions, to fight animal diseases and promote research, she told Reuters.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by David Holmes)