Welsh vets receive training to provide Export Health Certificates post-Brexit

The Welsh Government has committed £96,000 of funding to train veterinary surgeons to certify produce of animal origin in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

The money will come from the £50 million EU Transition fund, which was announced in September.

If the UK crashes out of the European Union without a deal, Export Health Certificates (EHC) will be required to send meat and other animal produce from the UK into the EU.

This will result in a significant increase in the need for EHC certification capability and capacity in Wales.

Veterinary surgeons certifying EHCs must receive specific training and authorisation. Usually, the training is paid for by the veterinarian undertaking the course, which represents a disincentive to participate.

The scheme will support the additional training required for at least 80 veterinary surgeons across Wales with more than expected to sign up before training ends at the end of February.

The scheme is being administered by the Animal and Plant Health Agency on behalf of the Welsh Government and in collaboration with Veterinary Delivery Partners Iechyd Da and Menter a Busnes.

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “I am pleased we have been able to support the veterinary sector through our EU Transition Fund.

“Veterinary surgeons have already begun receiving extra training to provide Export Health Certificates and this funding is helping to address the significant risk to the export of animal produce from Wales post-Brexit.

“This is yet another example of how, we as a Government, are supporting our industries prepare for Brexit and the challenges ahead.

It is possible – if a no deal is taken off the table this extra capacity will not be required but we must prepare for all eventualities.

“However, the training would not have been wasted as the skills are transferable and would strengthen the important certification role of the veterinary profession in Wales.”

Veterinary surgeon and representative of Iechyd Da, Ifan Lloyd said: “This Welsh Government support package offers practising vets in Wales the opportunity to undertake additional training to obtain the necessary qualifications to carry out animal product export certification.

This is a key initiative to ensure the veterinary profession in Wales is in a state of preparedness in the event of a no-deal Brexit and that exporters have easy access to qualified vets to undertake their certification requirements.

Griffiths reiterated the damage a no-deal exit could cause to Wales’ food industry and called for “decisive action” from Number 10.

“Crashing out of the European Union could decimate economies and must be avoided at all costs,” she said.

“Our preference would be a ‘softer’ Brexit – one that allows us to stay in a customs union and a single market.

“With no new ideas and red lines firmly still in place, the UK Government is simply running down the clock in a vain hope that their deal will pass. They must take decisive action now and act on the majority will of Parliament to rule out no-deal.”