Farming in the UK Feb 02

A new EU directive, 2001/82, will ban the sale of any animal health product except on prescription by a vet.


       The sale of animal products is already tightly regulated in the UK. About 3.200 people are professionally qualified by the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority to sell such low-risk products. Another disadvantage: many of them will lose their jobs.


       Although it is claimed that the new law will protect the public against dangerous residues in meat, potentially damaging products are limited to prescription sale already.


       Food safety and animal health must be protected. Livestock and horse owners are currently able to access many animal medicines. This facilitates the early use of low-risk medicines.

       The cost of veterinary medicines must be affordable. Closing down an existing, well-established distribution network in the UK will reduce competition in respect of medicines for food-producing animals.


       The illegal use of animal medicines is damaging. Making it more expensive and difficult for farmers to obtain the medicines may encourage the illegal importation of unauthorised medicines.



Foot and mouth: catalogue of failures. Farmers condemned the Government's response to the last epidemic.


       Lack of proper contingency planning. It failed to involve all the major stakeholders and had not been properly tested or updated.


       Insufficient import controls on foreign meat.


       The way the outbreak was handled. Resources were poorly co-ordinated and were quickly overwhelmed, leading to a rapid spread of the epidemic.


       There was a failure to apply bio-security schemes, while the contiguous cull policy -killing uninfected animals near to those infected-was applied too rigidly.



       Livestock movement controls: inadequate resourcing and preparation of licenses.


       Cleaning and disinfection: lack of control from the centre and repeated delays and mistakes in issuing contracts.


       Vaccination: failure to communicate clearly and insufficient scientific research.


CAP subsidies to farmers for food production are unsustainable.


       Farmers receive payments for conversion to organic farming.

       New controls on illegal meat imports, including possible use of sniffer dogs to check luggage.

       A new animal health strategy.

       A network of demonstration farms to show best price.

       Farms should adhere to strict farm standards or face licensing.

       An increase in the number of seasonal part-time workers from 10.000 to 50.000.

       Electronic tagging of all cattle, sheep and pigs.

       Reduction of duty on biofuels.