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NFUS Calls For Animal Health & Welfare Budget Fix

20 September 2011

SCOTLAND, UK - National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) is calling on the Scottish Government to preserve the nation's growing reputation for animal health and welfare (AHW) by ensuring existing and future initiatives remain appropriately funded.

The NFUS has written to Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney outlining its priorities on AHW ahead of Mr Swinney’s Scottish budget statement, expected on Wednesday (21 September).

With Scotland now responsible for both the policy and budget on AHW matters, the financial settlement with Defra will ultimately leave Scotland looking to deliver core animal health and welfare but with smaller resources.

Any decisions on budget must also take into consideration the publication earlier this year of John Ross's report on cost and responsibility sharing and the imminent publication of John Kinnaird's report into veterinary surveillance in Scotland. With the clear budgetary pressures on delivery of AHW measures, the Union is adamant that limited resources must be targeted or we risk gaps in our provision emerging.

NFU Scotland President and former vet, Nigel Miller said: "Since devolution, Scotland has developed a proven track record of proactive and positive animal health policies."

"Now that the budget for those policies is also devolved the reality is that funding is set to tighten significantly and there will be an ongoing challenge in maintaining our strong position going forward."

"The recent Ross report recognised the need to build on the current Scottish animal health and welfare approach which remains successfully based on stakeholder engagement. While we are already in a strong position on proactive delivery, finding more cost-effective delivery mechanisms will be the big challenge and one that is essential if we are to maintain present controls and surveillance standards."

"Meeting this challenge must be given immediate consideration. One example is disease surveillance. This has been a central plank of AHW in Scotland for some time and we await with interest the imminent publication of John Kinnaird’s report and recommendations. This will be a clear signal on what support is expected for delivering disease surveillance in the future."

TheCattleSite News Desk



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