'Step forward’ for animal health in EU

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

THE future relationship between the UK and Europe over animal health has moved ‘a step forward’ with the government’s ‘political declaration’.
NOAH (National Office for Animal Health) said it recognises the importance of the political declaration in paving the way to a successful future for the animal health sector.
NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard said in a press release: ‘NOAH’s priority is for the sector to continue to thrive in the post-Brexit landscape through a collaborative and cooperative regulatory system and relationship with the EU and international partners.
‘A successful animal health sector is essential for the health and welfare of the nation’s animals.’
NOAH is pleased that the declaration promotes an ‘ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership’ with ‘provisions to promote regulatory approaches that are transparent, efficient, promote avoidance of unnecessary barriers to trade’.
And the organisation particularly welcomes the commitment to explore the possibility of cooperation between UK authorities and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and notes that the UK parliament had voted in July that the UK should negotiate to remain in the EMA.
‘We support this, and that vote sent a clear message that this should be a priority for negotiators as the detail of our future relationship develops,’ said Howard.
‘Our sector, like other businesses, needs certainty, and a no-deal exit, a strong possibility should the agreement not be adopted by the UK parliament, could present supply problems and real risks to the health and welfare of our farm animals and pets.
‘We need functioning supply chains spanning the UK-EU border, crucial to the production of veterinary medicines and their onward supply to tackle disease.
‘Border delays, complex processes and increased costs would cause a risk to medicines availability. The implementation period within the deal would help ease the transition.’
She added: ‘While the road ahead to our future relationship is by no means simple, this agreement is at least a step forward.’
Picture: NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard