24 September 2020 - Page 32

NOVEMBER 09 2017
325% rise in veterinary certifications needed for trade post-Brexit
S the UK exits the European Union,
new trade agreements for meat and
agricultural products like milk, gelatine
and hay could trigger a 325 per cent rise in the
number of veterinary certifications needed,
requiring many more vets able to meet this
demand, it has been warned.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA)
highlighted the potential problem in its
response to the Environment Food and Rural
Affairs Committee (EfraCom) inquiry into the
impact on the UK’s trade in food after Brexit.
When the UK leaves the EU it may no longer
enjoy the same trading freedom with EU
countries and could be treated as a ‘third
country’ by the EU. As such, exports and
imports of animals and animal products to
and from the EU will need new veterinary
These will need to be developed and
supervised, which will require an increase
in the number of ‘Official Veterinarians’ to
perform this role.
According to the UK Chief Veterinary Officer,
Nigel Gibbens, the volume of products requiring
veterinary certifications could increase by as
much as 325 per cent.
The World Organisation for Animal Health
(OIE), a reference organisation of the World
Trade Organization (WTO), has recognised
veterinary services and certification as
“fundamental” for food safety. Veterinary
surgeons, employed by their respective
governments, work as official controllers
in settings like farms and food premises to
protect animal welfare, food hygiene and
safety, and public health. For every animal or
animal product that is imported or exported,
specially trained ‘Official Veterinarians’ certify
and supervise this process to and from third
countries, ensuring smooth trade.
There are currently 1,063 Official Veterinarians
authorised by the Government’s Animal and
Plant Health Agency (APHA) to certify food
products for export to third countries from
Great Britain, and this number would need to
increase significantly to accommodate the rise
in certification that could happen post-Brexit.
BVA is urging the Government to undertake
a major timely review of third country
certification to ensure we have the capacity
to fulfil new trade agreements. To combat the
potential shortage in veterinary capacity, BVA
is also calling on the Government to guarantee
working rights for non-British EU vets and
veterinary nurses currently working and
studying in the UK.
British Veterinary Association Senior Vice
President Gudrun Ravetz said: “Vets are
absolutely vital to facilitating UK trade by
ensuring standards so that consumers at home
and abroad have confidence in the food safety
and welfare of the products they choose to buy.
Veterinary certification is required not only for
meat, but a whole range of products such as
gelatine in sweets.
“Ironically, it is non-British EU vets who make
up around 50 per cent of our new workforce
each year. However, since the EU referendum,
we are facing serious problems in recruiting
and retaining EU vets, which makes the need
for more vets to perform this crucial trade-task
an even more pressing concern. Vets’ role in
the future of UK trade must be recognised and
planned for, as an integral part of forthcoming
trade negotiations.”
The BVA trade submission also outlines
that access to veterinary medicines could
potentially be restricted post-Brexit. In order
to protect animal and public health, BVA is
calling for any new trade deal with the EU to
maintain the link with EU veterinary medicine
approval systems.
The UK currently has high standards of
animal health, animal welfare and public health,
including food safety, in its food production.
These standards help prevent the spread of
pathogens and diseases in animal products,
ensure farm animals have a humane death,
protect food safety and safeguard responsible
antimicrobial use. BVA’s submission to the
EfraCom trade inquiry emphasises that, as
public goods, the UK must prioritise the
maintenance of these standards in all trade
negotiations moving forwards.
BVA’s full response to the EfraCom inquiry
into the impact on the UK’s trade in food
after Brexit is available on the BVA website
LEFT: Speaking at the
recent NBA Autumn Farm
Walk are Stephen Heenan,
host, Dr Francis Lively, AFBI,
David Morgan, Caltech
Crystalyx, Rosie McGowan,
National Beef Association,
Sarah Campbell, MSD
Animal Health, and Chris
Mallon, National Beef
RIGHT: Enjoying the
National Beef Association
Autumn Farm Walk are Tom
Grant, Newry, Paul Turley,
Downpatrick, and David
Morgan, Caltech Crystalayx.
Tremendous turnout for NBA autumn
farm walk
LEFT: Chatting at the National Beef
Association Autumn Farm Walk are
Brendan White, Castlewellan, and Colin
McEvoy, DAERA.
N estimated 170 producers
recent Northern National
Beef Association (NBA)
Northern Ireland autumn
farm walk.
The venue was the Clough suckler
beef unit owned by Stephen Heenan.
He manages the farm in tandem with
his son Andrew.
They run 70 commercial breeding
females as well as 12 pedigree
Charolais cows. The farm is mainly
grass/silage based, growing 15 acres
of arable to supplement feed.
Stephen is an advocate of ‘Quiet
Wean’ nose flaps, which allow calves
to be weaned while running with
the cows to avoid distress while
coming off their mothers. A pen of
weaned calves was showcased on
the night. The event was sponsored
by Crystalyx.
NBA chief executive Chris Mallon
gave the keynote address on the
“The introduction of coupled
payments as a mainstream support
producers, post Brexit, is not an
option,” he said.
“World Trade Organisation rules
will not allow it.
“There is scope for limited levels of
coupled support within the current
EU arrangements. And, with this in
mind, the beef industry in Scotland
is seeking the introduction of a
headage payment on every suckled
HOSTS: National Beef Association Autumn Farm Walk hosts Stephen and
Andrew Heenan.
calf born in that country.
“But it is hardly likely that London
will agree to a headage payment in
excess of £200 on every suckler cow
in the UK.”
Mallon was responding to claims
that farming organisations in the
Republic of Ireland will push to have
a €200 coupled payment introduced
for suckler cows, courtesy of the
next Common Agricultural Policy
(CAP) review.
“London is more like to favour a
support policy that protects the
environment and improves animal
welfare standards,” he said.
Commenting on the scope of postBrexit trading arrangements, Mallon
indicated that London is under no
legal obligation to accept only beef
imports from countries that can
guarantee production standards
which mirror those that currently
exist in the UK.
“This will only be the case if specific
standards are cited in future trade
deal agreements. At the end of the
day, it will be consumers who decide
which beef they want to purchase.”
But Mallon did indicate that
farmers must get a fair share of the
money coming in at the retail end of
the UK food chain.
“Government must act to put in
place a Food Ombudsman with
real teeth, where this matter is
concerned. We need genuine
transparency right along the food
Former Beef Farmer of the Year
Sam Chesney attended the farm
walk. He said that future support
arrangements for the beef sector
must specifically target active
“There must be a realistic support
base put in place for those farmers
actually producing food. If this
comes in the form of a welfare
payment to ensure that suckled
calves are properly vaccinated and
creep fed prior to weaning, so be it.
“But we must find a way to get the
pseudo active farmers out of the
support net.”
Dr Francis Lively from the AgriFood and Biosciences Institute
(AFBI) also spoke at the meeting.
He said that the potential to boost
grass dry matter production levels
on suckler beef farms is immense.
“Increase in the region of 25 per
cent can be quite easily obtained,”
he said.
“This should be regarded as
a form of subsidy which almost
every suckler herdowner can avail
of. The introduction of coupled
support payments will not help
drive efficiency levels within the
suckler sector. And, at the end of the
day, this is the real challenge which
confronts the local beef industry as
a whole.”
Courtesy of his presentation, David
Morgan, from Caltech Crystalyx,
confirmed the recent introduction
of a sheep welfare payment in the
Republic of Ireland.
“It amounts to €10 per head and
has been made available to allow
flockowners buy supplementary
feeds over the coming weeks and
months,” he said.
“So I see no reason why a similar
scheme for suckler cows and sheep
could not be introduced in Northern
Commenting on the distinct
prospect of a fodder shortage
impacting on many livestock farms
this coming winter Morgan said that
cattle should be offered high quality
meals only.
“Growing cattle and pre calving
suckler cows will benefit from a high
quality feed block, such as Crystalyx
Cattle Booster. This will help boost
forage utilisation rates,” he added.
“Finishing cattle should be offered
a high quality concentrate at all


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