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.

7 - Conclusion and Recommendations

7.1 Livestock and fish (particularly salmon) farming are important contributors to the rural economy and provide high quality and sustainable jobs often in remote areas. Effective protection and enforcement of animal and public health, animal welfare and the facilitation of trade are important services which underpins the viability and sustainability of this industry.

7.2 The majority of consultees supported the concept of the SVS commenting that rationalising animal and public health operations across terrestrial and marine food producing animals was the correct solution for Scotland. An SVS would provide the opportunity to focus on Scottish issues, streamline delivery, build synergies, deliver efficiencies, enhance surveillance and standardise training. Robust standards and accreditation would underpin the quality of work and provide confidence to trade partners. Some individuals expressed the importance of protecting current good practice and of maintaining existing links between science, policy and operations when designing the SVS.

7.3 The inclusion of public health elements of animal and fish production (including meat inspection, shellfish biotoxin monitoring and area closures, inspection and certification) were seen to deliver a comprehensive and coherent farm to fork approach. An integrated service also provides opportunities for consistency, career opportunity and flexibility. Coordinating operational services in this manner would also strengthen surveillance, communication and controls thereby enhancing Scotland's reputation with trading partners.

7.4 There was also broad agreement that animal welfare enforcement of the food producing species should form part of the remit of this organisation and that the current position of separating health and welfare responsibilities was not optimal.

7.5 In conclusion a modified Option 3, an integrated bespoke SVS, was the preferred model which was considered to best meet Scotland's operational delivery needs and would be efficient, flexible and cost effective.

7.6 The following recommendations are based on the results of the extension to the 2020 review and should be considered alongside the recommendations contained within that report:

Recommendation 1 – the recommendations of the 2020 review remain valid and subject to the addition of the recommendations below there are no fundamental reasons to modify these.

Recommendation 2 – consideration should be given to the following activities being delivered by the SVS:

  • terrestrial and aquatic animal health
  • bee health
  • food safety including meat inspection, wild and farmed fish certification and shellfish monitoring and area closures
  • welfare enforcement of food production animals
  • import checks including border inspection post operations

Recommendation 3 – a steering group should be formed, including representation from the organisations affected, to finalise the design of the SVS and to manage the transition until vesting.

Recommendation 4 – consideration of the developing landscape in trade with Northern Ireland, and imports in general, will be necessary in taking this work forward.

Recommendation 5 – changes to working practices resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and arrangements to mitigate the impact of future events should inform the structural and operational design of the new body.

Recommendation 6 – participating organisations will need to put in place interim arrangements to manage the consequences of EU exit until the SVS is operational.

Recommendation 7 – an effective communication strategy will need to be implemented to communicate the benefits of change and to keep all organisations updated with progress.



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