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More Info Demanded On Animal Health Proposals

20 April 2010

UK - The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers has appealed for more essential basic information in its response to government’s draft Animal Health Bill consultation.

Cost benefit details of its proposed non-departmental public body, the Animal Health Organisation (AHO), are a priority, while the association has also expressed dismay at the heavy handed way in which the proposed cost sharing is being guarded by the Treasury.

“We have attempted to make a positive response to this consultation; in the first instance we consider the AHO to be a step in the right direction for animal health policy in England, however we find it extremely difficult to accept the draft legislation without knowing what the cost benefits will be,” says RABDF chairman, David Cotton.

“We have been provided with little analysis on how creating a new body will benefit either government or industry and until such time we simply cannot fully support the measures.

“We have already supported the principles of responsibility and cost sharing and continue to believe that they can have the potential to deliver improved animal health within the national livestock population, but unless we are shown the details of how this can be achieved without impacting on the industry’s wallet, then we would like the entire policy making process to be slowed down.”

RABDF has also expressed concern that the government’s responsibility and cost sharing agenda is being rushed through, and that the Treasury is the main influencing force.

“We get the impression that heavy handed tactics have been used by the Treasury to offload some governmental costs to the industry, costs such as the continuing burden of TB which is not the industry’s fault. Therefore we would like to see some more explanatory details from this office at the earliest opportunity.

“To prevent the industry losing any more confidence in Defra, we need the department to be more open with farmers and industry organisations, and not push on with the agenda without providing real detail on the AHO’s benefits,” he says, adding: “We believe this would also help the Responsibility and Cost Sharing Group chaired by Rosemary Radcliffe to provide clear recommendations to the Secretary of State on the benefits of such a body and ensure we have real partnership working.”

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