UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Starting from 13th December 2023, livestock farmers in the UK who do not have assured status will be required to obtain a signed declaration from a veterinarian following an annual farm visit. This declaration is necessary for their products to meet the eligibility criteria for export to the European Union.
The introduction of this new requirement stems from a recent change in EU animal health regulations. These regulations now mandate that farms engaged in the production of animals or products of animal origin (POAO) for export must undergo regular veterinary visits. As a result, the previous temporary requirement, which involved a declaration from the farmer, will be replaced by this more comprehensive procedure.
Farmers To Undergo Regular Health Check To Obtain The Declaration
In order to obtain this declaration, farmers must undergo regular animal health checks conducted by qualified veterinarians. These visits involve a visual assessment of the farm to confirm that it is free from notifiable diseases.
No sampling or laboratory testing is necessary. It is worth noting that this assessment does not have to be the sole purpose of the visit; it can be combined with other routine work visits, as long as all species present on the premises are considered.
It is essential to ensure that the animals receive veterinary attention at least once within a 12-month period. However, if the visiting vet identifies a need for an additional visit before the 12-month mark, this information will be promptly communicated to the operator (livestock owner or keeper) and clearly stated in the declaration.
A Veterinary Visit In A 12 Month Period Is A Requirement For The Declaration
Farmers who are already part of an approved farm assurance scheme, they have already met the requirement for a veterinary visit. Their participation in the scheme is meticulously recorded as part of the food chain information, eliminating the need for any further veterinary declaration.
The currently approved schemes include renowned names such as Red Tractor, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Farm Assured Welsh Livestock Beef and Lamb Scheme (FAWL), and Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Ltd. (WLBP).
If your farm has undergone an annual health and welfare review as part of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway (AHWP), this visit will serve as a suitable fulfillment of the requirements. It is crucial to retain the receipt from your visit as evidence, as official veterinarians responsible for certifying goods for export lack access to the AHWP database.
What Procedures Will The Vets Carry Out During This Visit?
During these visits, the veterinarian will conduct a thorough visual assessment of the farm to ensure that it is free from any notifiable diseases. No sampling or laboratory testing is required for this confirmation.
However, it is important to note that this assessment does not have to be the sole purpose of the visit. It can be combined with other visits, as long as all animals present on the farm are taken into consideration.
The veterinarian’s visit should take place at least once within a 12-month period. However, if the veterinarian deems it necessary to conduct a subsequent visit before the 12-month mark, this will be communicated to the livestock owner and clearly stated in the declaration.
By adhering to these guidelines, we can ensure the health and safety of the animals on the farm, as well as prevent the spread of any potential diseases.
Non-Assured UK Livestock Farmers Will Provide A Declaration Signed By A Vet
Livestock farmers in the UK who are not part of an assurance scheme will now need to obtain a signed declaration from a veterinarian after an annual farm visit in order to export their products to the EU.
This new requirement, effective from 13 December 2023, is a result of a change in EU animal health regulations that now mandate farms producing animals or products of animal origin (POAO) for export to undergo regular veterinary visits.
The previous temporary requirement, which involved a declaration from the farmer, will be replaced by this new procedure. This development holds great significance for the UK, as approximately 72% of its meat exports are shipped to the EU.
The sheep meat sector, in particular, will be heavily impacted, as 94% of sheep meat exports, valued at £475 million in 2022, are destined for the EU.