The hopes and fears of safeguarding animal health and welfare, and enabling a continuous supply of animal medicines in the EU-27 and UK post-Brexit, have been discussed in Brussels.

Members of the European Parliament and the animal health industry have gathered to discuss the key issues that must be addressed to enable a continuous supply of animal medicines in the EU-27 and UK post-Brexit.

The “Safeguarding animal health and welfare: a priority for the future UK-EU relationship” event took place at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Speakers addressed what they saw to be the main priorities for safeguarding animal health and welfare after the UK leaves the EU.

Key priorities

Roxane Feller, representing AnimalhealthEurope, drew attention to three key priorities:

  • ensuring continued access to animal medicines
  • maintaining the collaboration in the field of transboundary diseases
  • encouraging further innovation in the animal health sector by pursuing scientific cooperation

John Keogh, chief executive of the Republic of Ireland’s Animal and Plant Health Association, said the continuation of dual labelling is absolutely critical if Irish vets, farmers and pet owners were to retain access to the full range of animal medicines for animal health and welfare.

“If dual labelling of the UK with any EU member state cannot continue, instantly the current 70% of Irish products that are dual labelled can no longer be sold in Ireland,” he said.

Significant interruption

NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard warned relocating manufacturing to the EU-27 by 30 March 2019 will prove incredibly difficult, leading to interruption of supply. Being able to make all changes to packaging by that date is highly unlikely, too, she said.

George Tice, of AnimalhealthEurope, gave specific company examples of how – despite significant investment in supply chain restructuring and relabelling – it will not be possible to complete the total transition process by 30 March 2019.

He said: “This will result in a significant interruption in the provision of medicines for animals in the EU-27 – an interruption that will be felt predominantly by the vets, farmers and pet owners in Europe who rely on the availability of these products.”

 

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