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Call for animal well-being to form core of UK policies

U.K.'s National Office of Animal Health has called on the new government to demonstrate a commitment to the health and welfare of farm animals and fish as well as pets.

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The animal health organization in the United Kingdom (UK) has called on the new government to commit to the country becoming a world leader in quality food and agriculture.

In the U.K., the animal health sector is represented by the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH). Its head has called on the new government to demonstrate a commitment to the health and welfare of farm animals and fish as well as pets.

Last week, the country’s voters returned Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservative party to power with a much increased majority. Negotiations over Brexit — the U.K.’s departure from the European Union (EU) — will now proceed at a fast pace.

There may be skepticism over whether stated deadlines can be met — or if the targets will be achieved at all. The future relationship between the U.K. and EU will likely be wide-ranging and transformational.

“Our priority is a vibrant and innovative U.K. animal health sector, encouraging the development of new and improved animal health products and services,” said NOAH’s chief executive, Dawn Howard. “The U.K. is in a strong position to be a global center 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.”

In particular, Howard stressed the importance of a “robust, sensible and proportionate U.K. regulatory system” to continue the high standards achieved within the EU framework. Foundation for this system must be internationally recognized science and technical expertise, she said.

NOAH sees its commitment to the country’s animal health sector as encompassing the supply to safe and affordable food, as well as to the well-being of animals, added Howard.

Manifesto, new codes on animal health

One month ago and ahead of the general election, NOAH published a manifesto aimed at future members of Parliament. This highlighted the importance of the animal health industry to society and the economy. The office also called for their support to safeguard the nation’s farmed animals and pets.

In the document, NOAH set out its vision for the sustainable development of the U.K. food and farming industry with animal health and welfare at the center of policy. The animal health sector’s needs must be considered in negotiations over future trading relationships, according to NOAH.

NOAH has recently published an update to its Code of Practice. Coming into effect from December 1, the update aims to ensure that veterinarians and users of animal medicines can be confident about promotional information.

Since December 13, companies in the U.K. are now required to comply with new regulations covering animal health and food safety.

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