Animal health and welfare views sought

Downpatrick Mart
Downpatrick Mart

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has published a consultation document on a draft Northern Ireland Animal Health and Welfare Strategic Framework.

The Department recognises that an overarching and integrated approach to animal health and welfare in NI is required, and has worked closely with a sub group of the Animal Health and Welfare Stakeholder Forum, comprising industry, veterinary and animal welfare representatives, to develop its proposals for the Framework.

The aim is to provide a vision for animal health and welfare based on five outcomes, agreed and delivered in partnership between Government and stakeholders. It is proposed that an annual delivery plan will be produced, and a new mechanism for monitoring and reporting introduced. It is expected that the proposed Framework will be valid for 10 years.

Launching the consultation on the Framework, the Chief Veterinary Officer for NI, Dr Robert Huey, said: “The draft NI Animal Health and Welfare Strategic Framework represents a new approach to animal health and welfare in NI, focusing on the need for effective partnership with stakeholders to ensure we make real progress towards delivering agreed outcomes.

“The health and welfare of our animals is vital to society’s well-being. High standards of animal health and welfare underpin the reputation of our sustainable agri-food industry and its ability to prosper.

“Safeguarding the health and welfare of animals is, however, about much more than the economy. Our high standards of animal health and welfare contribute to good public health and safe food, and to the sustainability of our environment. We also have a responsibility to ensure that the welfare of our animals is safeguarded.”

Speaking on behalf of the stakeholder sub group, a spokesperson commented: “The draft Framework has been developed through a process of government and stakeholder co-design and provides a mechanism for continued and long-term collaboration. It is timely that, in the context of EU exit with potential implications for the agri-food industry, we consider animal health and welfare issues in a more holistic and integrated way.”

The consultation document can be downloaded from the online NI Government consultation tool ‘Citizen Space’ at http://consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/daera-animal-health-and-welfare-policy-division/ni-animal-health-and-welfare-strategic-framework. The closing date for responses is September 30.

The Animal Health and Welfare Stakeholder Forum is an industry group, established to facilitate consultation and engagement between the Department and its key stakeholders.

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