Spain establishes new farm veterinarian role

The rule will be applied to all livestock farms intended for food production
calendar icon 19 May 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

The Council of Ministers in Spain has approved, at the proposal of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, a royal decree that establishes the bases for the development of the European Union (EU) animal health regulations, regarding the monitoring obligations of the owners of livestock farms and their comprehensive health plan, and that modifies several management rules in this area, according to a press release from the ministry of agriculture.

The new royal decree develops the figure of the farm veterinarian, collects the minimum content of the comprehensive health plan of livestock farms and establishes the minimum frequency of animal health visits.

This rule will be applied in all livestock farms intended for food production, the commercial use of livestock products or for agricultural purposes. Self-consumption farms are exempt from their application, as well as certain farms based on their size considered low risk from a health point of view, and other establishments such as livestock competitions, slaughterhouses, bullrings, concentrations of non-permanent animals and checkpoints.

According to the royal decree, the farm veterinarian will carry out a health and animal welfare supervision of the livestock farm on a face-to-face and regular basis. In addition, the frequency of animal health visits will be based on the risk presented by the farm and will include the supervision of the aspects included in the Comprehensive Health Plan.

During these visits, the veterinarian will make the relevant recommendations to correct the deficiencies he or she observes, including those aimed at achieving a sustainable use of antibiotics. Likewise, the veterinarian will advise the farmer on biosecurity, traceability, feeding, early detection and rapid response to diseases and on the importance of antimicrobial resistance.

Given that the health and welfare of animals are closely related, and that the assessment of an animal's welfare can only be carried out with adequate knowledge of its health situation, the farm veterinarian will also be in charge of designing the Animal Welfare Plan and monitoring its compliance, the content of which is in its specific regulations.

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