BVA warns of disease threat posed by border checks delay

BVA warns of disease threat posed by border checks delay

Vets have warned that the UK could face an influx of animal diseases if Westminster decides to impose a fourth delay to post-Brexit border checks on goods coming from the EU.

The warning comes following press reports that senior officials in government were “sympathetic” to the idea of imposing further delays to the checks –  due to come into place from July 1.

The British Veterinary Association  said such a delay would compromise biosecurity and increase the threat of diseases such as African Swine Fever arriving in the UK.

BVA senior vice president James Russell said: “If this extension is allowed to go ahead it will be the fourth delay and open the door even further to the potential incursion of African Swine Fever, which is spreading rapidly and has already had a catastrophic impact on animal health and agricultural industry in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa.

“Official Veterinarians working at the border act as the country’s first line of defence of biosecurity, and we feel it would be deeply misguided to push back the need for these vital checks even further and in so doing weaken this layer of protection for both animal and public health.

“We’ve also made the point that the veterinary profession needs certainty and clear dates to work towards instead of yet more shifting timeframes. Given the ongoing capacity challenges in the workforce it’s really important that we can prepare and allocate resource where it’s most needed.”