BVA warning on post-Brexit checks

Further delays in introducing checks on food imports into the UK from EU countries represents a serious risk to the health of the country’s livestock, vets have warned.

With reports indicating that the Prime Minister was considering delaying for a fourth time the introduction of post-Brexit checks on food imports from the EU to Great Britain, the British Veterinary Association yesterday reiterated a stark warning over disease threats.

“If these checks are delayed for a fourth time, there is a real risk of serious implications for animal health and British agriculture,” said BVA Senior Vice President James Russell. “Official Veterinarians working at the border are Great Britain’s first line of defence of biosecurity.

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“Pushing these checks back even further will open the door to diseases such as African Swine Fever, which spreads rapidly and has already had a catastrophic impact on the agricultural industry and animal health in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.”

BVA senior vice president James Russell.BVA senior vice president James Russell.
BVA senior vice president James Russell.

He warned that it would be ‘incredibly ill-advised’ to delay the crucial checks again and weaken what he termed vitally important protection for both animal and human health.

“We’ve repeatedly raised concerns about the shifting timeframes which make it impossible for the veterinary profession and food businesses to plan,” Mr Russell added. “Certainty and clear deadlines are needed now to ensure preparations can be made and resources can be allocated where they are most needed.”

In March, Mr Russell gave evidence to the Efra Select Committee, highlighting the threat which the issue had already posed and warning that any further delays could prove catastrophic for the country’s livestock sector.



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