The British Veterinary Association has called on Northern Ireland’s Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to put vets and the vet-farmer relationship at the heart of future farming policy to meet the key outcomes outlined in the Future Agricultural Policy Framework Portfolio for Northern Ireland.
The new portfolio, launched this week by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA, sets out a wide-ranging vision for the future direction of farming support in Northern Ireland. It explores in detail how a future farming regime can meet key outcomes around productivity, sustainability, resilience and supply chain functionality.
However, the BVA is voicing disappointment that the document makes no mention of the role of the veterinary profession in helping to achieve these goals.
Mark Little, branch president of BVA NI, said: “We’re pleased that the Minister recognises that our future agricultural regime must promote animal health and welfare and public health, but it’s disappointing that this week’s portfolio makes no mention of the role of the veterinary profession in achieving this.
“An opportunity has been missed to capture from the outset the central role of veterinary expertise in achieving the stated aims of increasing productivity, enhancing environmental protection, and improving resilience.”
Mr Little continued: “Agriculture faces unprecedented challenges, but we should all be seizing the chance to help shape a positive future, and it’s essential that vets and the vet-farmer relationship are at the heart of it.
“We have fed back our initial views to DAERA and will ensure that the valuable part that vets have to play in making this vision a reality comes through strongly when we respond to the forthcoming public consultation.”