The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the UK Government’s commitment to finding a permanent solution to the impending threat to Northern Ireland’s access to veterinary medicines as a result of the UK’s leaving the European Union.
The Government has established the new Veterinary Medicines Working Group, which will explore options to safeguard supply. The new working group will be appointed rapidly and will report its findings urgently in a bid to resolve the issue before the existing regulations end in December 2024.
The BVA warned that, if an agreement is not found, Northern Ireland faces potentially losing access to an estimated 51% of veterinary medicines, including vaccines for zoonotic diseases such as salmonella and leptospirosis, as well as insulin for dogs and cats and flu and tetanus vaccines for horses.
BVA NI branch president Esther Skelly-Smith said: “The British Veterinary Association has been highlighting the serious threat to Northern Ireland’s access to veterinary medicines for some time and therefore it’s good to see the Government commit to finding practical, long-term solutions.
“We have also continued to call for more dialogue between the UK Government and EU Commission on this issue. The new Veterinary Medicines Working Group is an important step towards safeguarding supply, which if left unaddressed will have serious and far-reaching consequences for the veterinary profession, the farming and equine sectors, as well as public health.
“It is only by a willingness to look carefully and creatively for possible solutions that the ongoing protection of Northern Ireland’s animal and public health and vital agricultural industry will be ensured.”