The British Veterinary Association has responded to the government’s Brexit White Paper, which sets out a blueprint for the future relationship between the UK and the European Union.
The paper includes a section on agricultural, food and fisheries products, which states that being outside the common agricultural policy (CAP) will give the UK the freedom to apply higher animal welfare standards in areas such as transportation and the treatment of live exports.
In a separate section, the government reaffirms that the UK’s future partnership with the EU will seek to include ambitious provisions for the mutual recognition of qualifications held by professionals including vets.
The government is also proposing a common rulebook to reassure the UK and the EU that agri-food products in circulation in their respective markets meet the necessary regulatory requirements. In theory this would remove the need to undertake additional regulatory checks at the border – avoiding the need for veterinary inspections at the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and other UK borders.
BVA president John Fishwick said: “We’re pleased to see that the government is committed to seeking out opportunities to build on the UK’s existing high animal welfare standards post-Brexit. Veterinary involvement is key to upholding these standards and placing the UK on a firm footing in trade negotiations.
“While Brexit will of course bring challenges, it also presents significant opportunities to enhance and prioritise animal welfare in areas including transportation, live exports and food labelling. However, there are areas that will continue to require a proactive and joined-up international approach, such as disease surveillance and working together to tackle the threat of antimicrobial resistance.”