VETS are vital to achieving the UK Government’s post-Brexit vision for high animal welfare and food safety standards, according to the the British Veterinary Association (BVA), which has launched a report setting out its key recommendations for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

BVA’s ‘Brexit and the veterinary profession’ report outlines the essential role that the UK veterinary workforce plays in not only caring for animals, but in enabling trade, ensuring food hygiene and safety, and undertaking cutting-edge research.

To secure the best possible outcomes for animal health and welfare, public health, and the veterinary profession, BVA’s report sets out 52 recommendations for the short, medium and long term, including calling on the next Government to:

• Guarantee working rights for non-British EU vets and veterinary nurses currently working and studying in the UK, and for British vets and nurses working in the EU, at the existing level and with no time limit, to ensure the need for veterinary services can be met;

• Maintain, and seek opportunities to improve, current animal health and welfare standards and prioritise them in all trade negotiations to ensure that a high standard of animal health, welfare and food hygiene is a unique selling point for the UK;

• Commit to maintaining a single standard for meat produced for both domestic and export markets based on current standards of food hygiene legislation and enforcement, including veterinary certification and controls;

• Negotiate to establish formal links with the EU on disease surveillance, to ensure reciprocal data sharing with Europe is maintained;

• Guarantee the UK veterinary profession ongoing access to all existing veterinary medicines licensed through the EU regulatory systems to meet animal health requirements, whilst continuing to play a leading role in tackling antimicrobial resistance internationally;

• Develop a regulatory and legislative framework to ensure the UK continues to be a globally attractive place for research and development;

• Establish a body to oversee and co-ordinate animal health and welfare policy across the four administrations of the UK and facilitate partnership working between industry and government to tackle endemic disease and animal heath challenges.