Post-Brexit funding for animal health and welfare an opportunity, say vets
Defra Secretary of State George Eustice announced plans at the NFU conference earlier today to roll out publicly funded annual veterinary visits to farms across England to help improve animal health and welfare.
The British Veterinary Association and its species-specific divisions have been working with Defra and industry representatives to design the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway – a programme of financial support for livestock farmers based around agreed animal health and welfare priorities.
Cattle, pig, and sheep farmers who are currently eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme will be able to access funding for an annual vet visit, by a vet of their choice, to carry out diagnostic testing, review biosecurity and responsible use of medicines, and provide tailored advice on health and welfare. Farmers will also be able to access grants to deliver health and welfare improvements.
Commenting on the launch, BVA Senior Vice President James Russell said:
“The Animal Health and Welfare Pathway provides a real opportunity to improve herd and flock health and welfare across England.
“Good relationships between farmers and vets have always been at the heart of improving livestock health and welfare and, as the Pathway rolls out later this year, we’re keen to work with our farm clients to really focus on the disease and welfare priorities for their animals.
“It’s also an opportunity to reach those farms that don’t currently engage a vet for proactive herd health planning. That’s a real win for the opportunities to improve animal health and welfare, both for the individual farms and more broadly as we drive down disease pressures across regions and work towards supporting sustainable animal agriculture.
“BVA successfully campaigned for animal health and welfare to be considered public goods because we know that UK consumers care about the provenance of the food they eat. Accessing public funding to improve health and welfare for all farms ensures we can continue to champion and protect our high health and welfare status across the country.”