The need to protect animal health and welfare budgets, relative to other areas of Government spending, has been called for by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) in the wake of Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement that Defra has provisionally agreed to cut its spending by 30% over the next four years.
“In recent years we have already seen the impact of significant cuts to Defra’s budget on veterinary fees for TB testing and other OV services and on disease surveillance,” said BVA president Sean Wensley.
“Our major concern today therefore is that more cuts in these areas could further erode the UK’s preparedness for a disease outbreak, which could have massive implications for animal and human health, animal welfare and the reputation of UK agriculture.”
Pointing out that the Defra Secretary of State had repeatedly said that animal health and welfare is a priority, Mr Wensley added that now was the time to protect the relevant budgets to ensure that short-term savings do not lead to “serious adverse consequences” in the longer term.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) also named animal health as one of its concerns, relative to the planned budget cuts.
“Any cuts to Defra must not impact the department’s responsibilities for driving through its food and farming strategy, animal health, flooding and its payment functions,” warned NFU president Meurig Raymond.