The National Office of Animal Health has launched a new paper, Vision for UK Animal Health and Welfare – Agriculture Policy that’s fit for the future.
Speaking at the NOAH One Health Conference in London, NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard said: “This paper sets out our ambition for the development of a new chapter in UK agriculture policy. Providing the vision and framework, it identifies what needs to be done and how it can be delivered to improve the health and welfare of our livestock, placing animal health at its heart to deliver key benefits for all – including delivering a true One Health.
“We believe that taking an animal health perspective delivers benefits in terms of welfare, productivity, sustainability and resilience of farms – all helping farmers to prepare for changes in trading outside the EU. Our overall priority is to help secure a sustainable long-term future for farming and the rural economy.”
Ms Howard said the challenges include static productivity levels, a lack of national co-ordination and forward momentum for endemic disease control and that monitoring needs to be addressed.
“We believe there is a wealth of experience and expertise in farm animal health in the UK and we now have an unprecedented opportunity to tackle these challenges and guide animal health and welfare towards an achievable vision,” she said.
“Our paper sets out a holistic approach – as we believe no single action is going to deliver proper forward momentum.”
The paper puts forward recommendations that include:
- Animal health – tackling endemic disease;
- Help for farm infrastructure and equipment; and
- Investing in farm staff.
Ms Howard said the NOAH Animal Medicines Best Practice training programme, which delivers training in responsible antibiotic use for farmers, as a good case study of industry working together to deliver practical solutions.
“This programme has been endorsed by Government and is well supported throughout the farming and veterinary sector,” she said.
“Our call to action asks that both industry and Government work collaboratively to design and deliver a clear UK strategy for animal health and welfare, to seize this huge and unprecedented opportunity for UK to lead, and deliver sustainable agriculture.”