Animal health needs ‘must be met’ by new government ahead of Brexit *H&H Plus*

  • The organisation that represents the animal health and medicines industry in the UK says its needs “must be recognised” by the new government.


    The Conservative party won an 80-seat majority in the 12 December election, with leader Boris Johnson remaining prime minister.

    It was announced on Monday (16 December) that Mr Johnson’s Brexit Bill is expected to be put to MPs on 20 December. The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 January.

    “In order to achieve the excellence in animal health this commitment demands, our sector’s needs must be recognised as we leave the EU and negotiate our future relationship with the EU and beyond,” said National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) CEO Dawn Howard, before the vote date was announced.

    “Our priority is a vibrant and innovative UK animal health sector, encouraging the development of new and improved animal health products and services.

    “The UK is in a strong position to be a global centre of excellence for animal medicines — part of any leading life sciences global hub, supporting both cutting-edge product developments and a regulatory model to benefit our national and international trade.”

    She added animal medicines is a highly regulated industry and that leaving the EU means a “robust, sensible and proportionate UK regulatory system firmly based on internationally recognised science and technical expertise, is more important than ever”.

    “The UK has a key role to play on the world stage in tackling the [World Health Organisation’s] One Health challenges that face us all,” she added.

    “But this starts at home with the interconnection of the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the environment. We need a collaborative approach to tackling issues as varied as antimicrobial resistance, improving vaccination rates and improving mental health and wellbeing.”

    Manifesto plans

    A multitude of election promises will impact the equestrian world should they be implemented, from minimum wage to taxation.

    Among the Tories’ manifesto pledges that directly touch on horses and other animals were tougher sentences for animal cruelty and new laws on animal sentience.

    When parliament is dissolved, as it is ahead of general elections, all unfinished bills are dropped. This means the laws on sentience and punishments, which were being created, will need re-introducing.

    The party also pledged to make “no changes to the Hunting Act”. There were no promises to review or intervene in racing, which featured in both the Labour and Liberal Democrats’ manifestos.

    Countryside Alliance (CA) chief executive Tim Bonner said the result will have a “profound and lasting impact on the countryside” as Britain implements post-Brexit agricultural and environmental policy.

    “The alliance has a huge job in engaging with so many new MPs, most Conservative, who represent rural and urban seats,” he said, adding many have worked for or with the CA in recent years.

    “This parliament will define the future of the countryside and together we could not have a more important job.”

    He added the CA will continue to engage with the opposition to challenge policies.

    “Finally this election has surely buried the myth that country sports, and in particular the hunting issue, have any impact on voters,” he said.

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