Animal import checks delay slammed

There was widespread condemnation yesterday of the UK Government’s decision to shelve its plans for checks on animal and animal products imported from the EU.

The UK’s largest veterinary body, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) said the move announced yesterday by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Minister for Brexit Opportunities, to delay the introduction of import checks on animal and animal products by a further 18 months flew in the face of common sense and risked exposing the country’s livestock to devastating diseases.

The BVA said it had repeatedly warned that delaying checks, already pushed back three times, could have serious implications for animal health and British agriculture - opening a threat of the incursion of diseases such as African Swine Fever.

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“This move flies in the face not only of common sense, but also of the Government’s commitment to preserving high levels of animal and human health in the UK,” said James Russell, BVA Senior VP.

Diseases such as African Swine Fever have already had a catastrophic impact on agriculture and animal health in parts of Europe and elsewhere globally, he said, and further delays weakened vital lines of defence against future incursions.

The NFU said that the checks were crucial to the nation’s biosecurity, animal health and food safety and without them the industry was left wide open to disease threats, while the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers said the move represented a ‘gross neglect’ of the health of Scottish pig and livestock industries.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​



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