Industry objection to new animal health body

A number of meat industry organisations have written a letter to Defra in opposition of plans to set up a body to run animal health operations.

The National Beef Association (NBA), the British Poultry Council and the Game Farmers’ Association among others have all signed a letter to Hilary Benn rejecting the establishment of a new independent, levy-funded body to take over the running of animal health operations in England.

NBA director Kim Haywood said: “The Defra proposals are an ill-advised kneejerk reaction to the cost it faced during the 2001 FMD outbreak and are already almost nine years out of date.”

“(It) prefers instead to hoist a distant, non-ministerial, Food Standards Agency-style disease control board, whose funds would be directly controlled by HM Treasury and therefore be very likely to be quickly reduced and replaced by huge rises in compulsory levy.”

Defra says the new body will reduce the risks and costs of animal disease and improve confidence in animal health policies. It announced the body in March and the consultation period is still ongoing.

Responding to the letter, a Defra spokesperson said: “We are still in the consultation process and will continue to work with all industry stakeholders to ensure all responses are considered properly and considerately with industry as part of the consultation process.”