Agriculture Bill

Written evidence submitted by NOAH (AB25)

NOAH has been representing the companies that research, develop, manufacture and market licensed animal medicines in the UK since 1986. The industry is highly regulated, and our aim is to promote the benefits of safe, effective, quality products and services for the health and welfare of all animals – both farm animals and pets. The association’s membership represents over 95% of the UK animal medicines market worth in excess of £645 million per annum and directly supporting 2,000 highly skilled jobs, as well as indirectly supporting 19,000 vets, over 6,000 qualified animal health advisors (SQPs), over 11,000 veterinary nurses and thousands of livestock farmers and people involved in pet and equine care, sports and leisure.

The Agriculture Bill 2017-19:

The Agriculture Bill has the potential to offer UK farming a genuine vehicle to take a fresh look at that way we support animal health and welfare on farm. The success of future farming will depend on a healthy, and therefore more productive, national herd that can compete effectively in challenging global markets. The Bill must therefore provide the opportunity to put in place a framework that will enable farmers, vets and animal health advisors to deliver a high health status for all animals.

NOAH welcomes the fact that the Bill is built on the principle of public money for the provision of public goods. Encouragingly, the Bill recognises the importance of animal health and welfare as vital public goods and the inclusion of the Secretary of State’s powers to give financial assistance for purposes that include protecting or improving the health or welfare of livestock is welcome.

Tackling animal disease is challenging and requires a co-ordinated effort to make real progress. We are optimistic that this Bill will signify a turning point for animal health progress in the UK by stimulating a renewed focus on disease prevention and treatment. Access to a range of animal health products and services will be essential to delivering a sustainable livestock sector. As an example, real improvements can be made by increasing the use of a range of preventative and supportive medicines, such as vaccines and pain relief medicines. We welcome ambitious Government plans to develop a co-operative Animal Health Pathway programme of partnership. We look forward to making positive contributions to the work of Defra based on our expertise in this area with the aim of delivering effective animal health initiatives that deliver clear productivity and sustainability gains. As an example of our commitment to this area, NOAH is already investing in skills and promoting training opportunities that are important to support this progress through its Animal Medicines Best Practice (AMBP) project, with training for farmers and vets on responsible antibiotic use.

We look forward to a period of renewed focus on the fundamentally important area of animal health and welfare. The scope, provisions and powers proposed in the Bill lays the foundation for this work and represents a new and vital opportunity to deliver benefits for livestock and people alike.

October 2018

 

Prepared 25th October 2018