Protecting and improving animal health and welfare

The National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has said that the new Agriculture Act embodies key principles in the NOAH Vision, placing animal health and welfare at the heart of a vibrant future for resilient and sustainable farming.

NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard said the organisation welcomes the specific inclusion of protecting or improving the animal health or welfare of livestock as a key provision for support within the Agriculture Act.

High standards of animal health are integral to improving animal welfare, and during the progress of the Bill, NOAHlobbied for animal health to be recognised alongside welfare as a public good.

This was included, with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs now able to give financial assistance for “protecting or improving the health or welfare of livestock”.

Ms Howard added: “This will also support improved sustainability and resilience of farms – all helping our farmers to prepare for changes and stay competitive whilst trading outside the EU and strengthening our food security.

It also links animal health to the all-important environmental ambition set out by Government, with healthier animals reducing losses and waste, and so reducing the footprint of the provision of food from livestock. We will work to ensure that the importance of good animal health is acknowledged as the Environment Bill is progressed.

Disease knows no borders; as the Act is implemented, Ms Howard said that NOAH will work to encourage co-ordinationbetween the devolved nations with a collective view on the shared vision for the future, as they take responsibility for thehealth of the animals in each nation – a key principle set out in NOAH’s 2019 Vision paper.

Ms Howard said that NOAH will promote collaboration through its participation in groups such as the Ruminant Health and Welfare Group and RUMA.

“NOAH has also supported the formation of the Trade and Agriculture Commission and welcomes that parliament is nowable to hold government to account, through its scrutiny provisions,” she said.

“We will be working to ensure this important body is fully recognised within the Trade Bill. NOAH believes ongoing and future Free Trade Agreement negotiations should deliver optimal benefit for UK citizens, farmers, and the UK economy.”

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