Animal disease risk in no deal Brexit

Dawn Howard, NOAH chief executive, has warned of the disease risks in a no deal Brexit

ANIMAL welfare could be at risk if the availability of veterinary medicines in the UK is compromised in a no deal Brexit, warned NOAH, the body representing the animal health industry.

The majority of veterinary medicines used in the UK (including the ingredients and components needed to make them) are either produced in or enter via the EU.

NOAH (the National Office of Animal Health) said the industry has been working closely with regulators, and has responded ‘very well’ to concerns about supply.

Detailed planning measures for all EU exit scenarios, including no deal, have been put in place.

‘These plans have involved a great deal of work and cover all aspects of supply chains, from regulatory compliance and stocking levels to logistics and customs,’ said NOAH in a press release today.

‘They also include, as appropriate, increasing stocks of products in the UK, changing supply routes, transferring marketing authorisations and other regulatory processes.’

However, there are concerns that other issues could impact medicine supplies in a no deal situation.

For example, there are temperature sensitive vaccines which have to be maintained in certain conditions.

‘If transport is delayed and they are stuck on a lorry for hours with no power supply, those vaccines could become completely useless, and the consignment lost,’ said NOAH.

Dawn Howard, NOAH chief executive, said: ‘This disruption does represent a potential risk to controlling disease and an animal welfare issue.

‘If preventative medicines such as vaccines are not available, there is a greater risk of disease in the population.

‘This could increase the risk of its spread, including the spread of zoonotic infections. Animals that have not been protected may be at risk.

‘To reduce this risk to medicines availability in the UK, detailed planning continues.’