UK levy boards consult industry on joint approach to tackle ruminant welfare

UK levy boards consult industry on joint approach to tackle ruminant welfare

The UK levy boards have launched a consultation with industry on a proposal to form a Ruminant Health and Welfare Group to deliver a simpler, more co-ordinated approach to tackling primarily sheep and cattle health and welfare across the UK.

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Hybu Cig Cymru/Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC) are facilitating the consultation on behalf of the industry and are looking for feedback and comments to assist with defining and supporting the next steps.

We would like to hear from businesses and trade organisations involved in the cattle and sheep industry including producers, processors, animal welfare groups, pharma businesses, academics and experts in the field of ruminant health and welfare.

Gwyn Jones, Chair of RUMA and AHDB Dairy Board said: “Domestically, we face ongoing challenges over health and welfare and continuing high levels of endemic disease which erode reputation and public trust as well as margins.

“In terms of export of meat and dairy, there is recognition that improving animal health and welfare status would enable the UK to access more markets.

“Discussions have been taking place across the cattle and sheep industry and with UK Governments over the last 12 months over how we can collectively accelerate the pace of progress on endemic disease in ruminants.

“There is broad agreement that a simpler, more co-ordinated approach to ruminant health and welfare is needed and that a united industry voice would be powerful and influential, in deciding spending priorities and champion innovation and best practice.

“The formation of an industry Ruminant Health and Welfare Group has been proposed to deliver this.”

HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells said, “Flock and herd health and welfare is vital to our whole supply chain. Proactive health management is key to good husbandry and the sustainability of farm businesses. It’s also central to the message we wish to convey to consumers. This consultation should help to gain the input of the wider industry into how these issues can best be addressed in a co-ordinated and holistic way.”

Alan Clarke, QMS chief executive commented: “Our farmers have some of the highest welfare standards across the globe however we are increasingly being faced with a backlash of ill-informed anti-red meat propaganda.

“The formation of this proposed group will help to strengthen the story we have to tell and enhance our high animal health and welfare standards. I’d encourage everyone across the industry to respond to the consultation to help form the next steps.”

Ian Stevenson, LMC chief executive added, “Regulatory responsibility for animal health and welfare is fully devolved however endemic diseases do not respect borders.  It is therefore important that we work together to tackle ruminant health and welfare across the UK.  Through a coordinated effort, sharing knowledge and experiences it is hoped that we will collectively be in a better position to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

You can find more details and take part in the consultation on the AHDB website www.ahdb.org.uk/consultation-a-coordinated-approach-to-tackling-ruminant-health-and-welfare-across-the-uk

The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday 25th October.

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