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Agriculture Act 2020 – Protecting and Improving Animal Health and Welfare

The new Agriculture Act embodies key principles in NOAH’s Vision – placing animal health and welfare at the heart of a vibrant future for resilient and sustainable farming.

NOAH welcomes the specific inclusion of protecting or improving the animal health or welfare of livestock as a key provision for support within the Agriculture Act.

High standards of animal health are integral to improving animal welfare, and during the progress of the Bill, NOAH lobbied for animal health to be recognised alongside welfare as a public good. This was included, with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs now able to give financial assistance for “protecting or improving the health or welfare of livestock”.

This will also support improved sustainability and resilience of farms – all helping our farmers to prepare for changes and stay competitive whilst trading outside the EU and strengthening our food security. It also links animal health to the all-important environmental ambition set out by Government, with healthier animals reducing losses and waste, and so reducing the footprint of the provision of food from livestock. We will work to ensure that the importance of good animal health is acknowledged as the Environment Bill is progressed.

Disease knows no borders; as the Act is implemented we will work to encourage co-ordination between the devolved nations with a collective view on the shared vision for the future, as they take responsibility for the health of the animals in each nation – a key principle set out in our 2019 Vision paper. NOAH will promote collaboration through its participation in groups such as the Ruminant Health and Welfare Group and RUMA.

NOAH has also supported the formation of the Trade and Agriculture Commission and welcomes that parliament is now able to hold government to account, through its scrutiny provisions.  We will be working to ensure this important body is fully recognised within the Trade Bill.

NOAH believes ongoing and future Free Trade Agreement negotiations should deliver optimal benefit for UK citizens, farmers, and the UK economy.

Notes for Editors

  1. For more information please contact Dawn Howard or Alison Glennon at NOAH on 020 8367 3131 or see

  2. NOAH represents the UK animal health industry. Its aim is to promote the benefits of safe, effective, quality products and services for the health and welfare of all animals.

  3. The NOAH Vision Paper sets out our ambition for the development of a new chapter in UK agriculture policy. Providing the vision and framework, it identifies what needs to be done and how it can be delivered to improve the health and welfare of our livestock, placing animal health at its heart to deliver key benefits for all.

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