- Date posted: 1st March 2023
BVA responds to Windsor Framework
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed elements of the new Windsor Framework for Northern Ireland agreed between the UK Government and the EU, while highlighting that a solution still needs to be reached on veterinary medicines.
Replacing the Northern Ireland Protocol, the new framework will make it much easier for pets to be transported from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
Under the previous agreement, pet owners were required to comply with EU pet travel rules when traveling with their pets from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, but will now only need to confirm that their pet is microchipped and will not be moved into the EU.
BVA president Malcolm Morley said: “On first reading, the ‘new deal’ for Northern Ireland looks positive for vets, farmers and agri-food businesses, as well as pet owners. Throughout the UK, the veterinary profession is managing with workforce shortages and so it’s encouraging that new proposals seek to minimise the need for vet intervention as animals and goods move across the Irish Sea.
“The new rules will be a particular relief to pet owners who regularly travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland with their animals. The rules will mean less paperwork for vet practices too and will help reduce over treatment. The British Veterinary Association welcomes the hard work of vets across governments that has got us to this stage.
“The Windsor Framework recognises there is still more to do to ensure long-term access to vet medicines for Northern Ireland and we look forward to working with all parties to find a workable solution.”
The lack of a long-term agreement on veterinary medicines has also been highlighted by the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH). The previous protocol had imposed strict conditions on veterinary medicines entering Northern Ireland, potentially affecting the supply of more than half of product lines.
The Windsor Framework does not include any new agreement on veterinary medicines. However, a previously-agreed grace period until the end of 2025 will be maintained, providing time for a new long-term solution to be reached before the rules are enforced.
Dawn Howard, NOAH chief executive, said: “We are pleased to see that this [risk to veterinary medicine supplies] has been recognised by the UK Government in the Framework paper which states that, as things stand, more than half of product lines remain at risk. We thank NOAH members for their diligent work in providing this evidence, and welcome the Government’s recognition that the only practical solution will be the development of a long term solution, as with human medicines, to guarantee the existing and long-established flows of trade between GB and NI for our sector.
“We look forward to working with them and their EU colleagues in finding a solution that works for veterinary medicines, in the tremendous spirit of co-operation demonstrated by the publication of the Framework.”