Animal health services - field delivery: review extension

This is a supplementary paper to the original report entitled "Field delivery of animal health services in Scotland: review", taking account of EU Exit, animal health and welfare legislation and COVID-19.

2 – EU Exit

2.1 The 2020 review highlighted the potential impact of EU exit on trade with the EU and third countries and, by implication, the increase in volumes of export health certification. Trade with Northern Ireland was highlighted as a potential issue with the resulting impact on Scottish ports. Recruitment of EU personnel, particularly veterinary staff to work in abattoirs, was also predicted.

2.2 It is over 18 months since the end of the transition period. The predicted increase in Export Health Certification has had a greater impact than expected particularly on the FSS notwithstanding that trade in meat and meat products is significantly below pre-EU exit levels. The required veterinary input into fish certification will require access to additional veterinary and technical resources.

2,3 Whilst the majority of certification is undertaken by private practitioners this adds cost impacting on competitiveness. In remote areas, with small veterinary practices, availability can be constrained particularly if there is a competing urgent animal health matter. The consequential risk is that the government becomes the default provider.

2.4 Arrangements for trade with Northern Ireland have still to be finalised and there is uncertainty relating to the checks that will be required at ports such as Cairnryan. Implications of the impact of this work will need to be taken into account by the project team in developing the SVS.

2.5 To date there have been a limited number of trade deals completed which collectively account for a very small percentage of total trade in animals and animal products. Consequently, there is uncertainty regarding the resources required to meet this commitment. Organisations consulted commented that trade deals are likely to be 'paper heavy' and that robust surveillance will be required to underpin disease status and maintain confidence of trading partners. The SVS with a broad range of responsibilities was seen as a mechanism to ensure consistency of data collection, management and interpretation.

2.6 Recruitment of veterinary and technical staff is, as expected, an issue currently impacting predominantly on the work of the FSS and fish industry. APHA are managing to recruit effectively albeit with difficulties in some geographical areas. Whilst recruitment of veterinary staff is a significant issue, inspectors and other workers are also affected. There are also wider industry problems with sourcing enough staff which is impacting on production and animal welfare.

2.7 Other issues highlighted include:

  • a lack of clarity of the impact of import inspection requirements. These have been delayed until July 2022. Plants and bees account for more imports than animals, however, large volumes of animal products are imported
  • kennelling capacity for imported dogs inadequate and requires further investment
  • BIP work increasing markedly which will have resource implications
  • export of salmon now taking two rather than one day
  • reduced access to EU training courses



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