New Agriculture Bill recognises the value of animal health as a public good, but a joined-up approach is vital, says NOAH
NOAH welcomes the publication of the Agriculture Bill today and its recognition of the importance of measures to improve animal health and welfare.
The announcement of the Bill includes the introduction of measures to monitor UK food security as we leave the EU and make new trade deals.
Dawn Howard, chief executive, NOAH, said: “High standards of animal health are integral to improving animal welfare, and it is right that they are recognised within the Agriculture Bill as a public good. Not only will improving animal health help deliver benefits in terms of welfare, it will also support raising productivity, improved sustainability and resilience of farms – all helping to prepare for changes in trading outside the EU and strengthening our food security.
“We look forward to working with Government on how these improvements can best be achieved. Our ‘Vision Paper for Animal Health and Welfare’ sets out NOAH’s ambition through a holistic approach – we believe no single action will deliver the results needed. Prevention of disease through measures such as improved biosecurity and vaccination and herd/flock health planning; improving skills through farmer professional development; investment in new technology – all will help play their part. We want to see further detail when the Bill is published in full relating to animal traceability and the commitment on “better” data on animal identification, movements and health.
“We welcome the proposed incentivisation to farmers in England but note that disease knows no borders: a joined-up approach with good collaboration throughout the UK is essential for real progress to be made,” she added.
“But,” she warned, “there is nothing there to indicate that the import of food produced to lower standards than those to which British farmers must adhere will not be permitted. In order to lead the world in the quality of our food and agriculture, as well as to ensure security of food from UK livestock, our farmers need to be able to compete”.
NOAH will analyse the Bill in full and looks forward to working closely with the Government, MPs and partners to ensure animal health is a top priority going forward.