Commenting on reports that the Prime Minister has indicated that post-Brexit checks on food imports from the EU to Great Britain are to be delayed for a fourth time, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has reiterated a stark warning over disease threats.
BVA senior vice-president James Russell said:
“If these checks are delayed for a fourth time, there is a real risk of serious implications for animal health and British agriculture.
“Official Veterinarians working at the border are Great Britain’s first line of defence of biosecurity.
"Pushing these checks back even further will open the door to diseases such as African Swine Fever, which spreads rapidly and has already had a catastrophic impact on the agricultural industry and animal health in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
“It would be incredibly ill-advised to delay these crucial checks again and weaken this vitally important protection for both animal and human health.
“We’ve repeatedly raised concerns about the shifting timeframes which make it impossible for the veterinary profession and food businesses to plan.
"Certainty and clear deadlines are needed now to ensure preparations can be made and resources can be allocated where they are most needed.”
In March, Russell gave evidence to the Efra Select Committee non-inquiry session on import check readiness.