NOAH briefing: Agriculture Bill, future trade, animal health and veterinary medicines

NOAH (the National Office of Animal Health) is the Trade Association for the UK animal health industry. NOAH member companies develop, manufacture, distribute and market veterinary medicines, diagnostics and other animal health products and services essential to protect animal health and welfare, human health, food safety and security.

  • The Agriculture Bill affords an opportunity to further promote and support high standards of animal health and welfare in the UK, rightly recognised as public goods. From an animal health perspective, a vital element of the Bill is the provisions regarding the ability of the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to give financial assistance for “protecting or improving the health or welfare of livestock”. This financial protection must be maintained to ensure that all benefits of improving animal health and welfare e.g. raising productivity, improving sustainability, and increasing resilience of farm livestock are realised. NOAH’s ‘Vision Paper for Animal Health and Welfare1 sets out further a holistic approach that complements the ambitions of the Bill for the prevention of disease through measures such as improved biosecurity and vaccination and herd/flock health planning; improving skills through farmer professional development and the investment in new technology.
  • In international trade agreements, it should be recognised that the UK has a global reputation for high standards in animal health and welfare that must be maintained. This Bill will be crucial for the UK Government’s preparations for changes to our trading arrangements and for strengthening the UK’s food security following the end of the transition period in 2020. NOAH has set our priorities for international trade2, which include an ambition that the UK should ensure its progress in the responsible use of antibiotics in the veterinary sector and tackling antibiotic resistance is recognised by trade partners, with a commitment from future trade partners to comply with the CODEX Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
  • NOAH supports the establishment of the Trade and Agriculture Commission3 and the House of Lords amendment that seeks to strengthen its role in the development and oversight of international trade policy. NOAH’s position is that ongoing and future trade agreement negotiations should deliver optimal benefit for UK citizens, farmers, and the UK economy.
  • NOAH is working with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, the UK regulator, and Government to prepare for the post transition period, looking at the opportunities for UK agriculture in future trade and for new animal health product innovation.
  1. NOAH’s Vision for UK Animal Health and Welfare – Agriculture Policy that’s fit for the future: www.noah.co.uk/focus-areas/animal-medicines-for-health-and-welfare/
  2. NOAH’s priorities for international trade agreement negotiations – https://www.noah.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Final-Doc-NOAH-Trade-Agreements-1-September-2020.pdf
  3. NOAH welcomes establishment of Trade and Agriculture Commission: www.noah.co.uk/noah-welcomes-establishment-trade-agriculture-commission/