WALES, UK - A consultation on the introduction of Quarantine Units (QUs) as an exemption to the current six-day standstill arrangements for cattle, sheep and goats has been launched by Welsh Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans.
Livestock standstill rules were introduced following the 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak. Prior to this, no standstill period existed and movements of livestock were considered to be responsible for significant spread of disease.
The current controls require that when livestock are moved onto a holding, a standstill period on that holding is triggered, preventing any livestock moving off the holding, except direct to slaughter.
The initial standstill period was 21-days which was reduced to 6-days for cattle, sheep and goats. The standstill period for pigs was 20-days, which remains the case today, and will not be changed at the request of the sector.
An investigation into the regulatory burden on farmers in Wales found these regulations were unpopular, so proposals were developed to allow farmers more flexibility, by exempting farms using QUs from the standstill requirement.
QUs are separate areas on a farm where animals can be held, and must meet strict biosecurity requirements.
Rebecca Evans said: “We are determined to do everything we can to help support a prosperous, sustainable industry underpinned by healthy livestock.
"The changes proposed in this consultation are designed to simplify current systems, establish consistent rules across species, and reduce the administrative burden on farmers in line with objectives in the Strategic Framework for Agriculture and the Working Smarter report. I would encourage anybody with an interest to respond.”
The Welsh Government says the consultation launched today is looking for views on the benefits of implementing QUs, as well as the proposed legislative changes and the operational rules required.
The consultation, which will run for 10 weeks and closes on the 12 February 2016, is available on the Welsh Government website.
TheCattleSite News Desk