Impacts could be ‘keenly felt’ in small animal sector
A no-deal Brexit could spell trouble for parts of the veterinary workforce, leading to a serious shortfall in vets who certify animals and animal products as they enter and exit the UK.
This is the warning from the BVA, after a series of technical notices were published by the government. Covering topics such as pet travel, animal exports and veterinary medicines, the notices aim to help businesses and citizens prepare for a no deal Brexit.
BVA president Simon Doherty commented: “We’ve been exploring the impact of Brexit for a long time, and today’s technical notices really underline how a no-deal situation could put a strain on large and crucial sections of the veterinary workforce.
“The risk of shortages of OVs working in abattoirs or carrying out certification is well documented, but the impacts could also be keenly felt in the small animal sector if new pet transport requirements lead to a surge in demand for vets to carry out rabies vaccination and testing prior to travel.”
In the event that a deal is not reached, pets will continue to travel between the UK and the EU, but the level of documentation and health checks are expected to rise. How much will depend on what category of third country the UK becomes.
The most dramatic changes would be seen if the UK is given ‘unlisted’ third country status. In this case, dogs, cats and ferrets would be required to undergo a rabies antibody titration test at least 30 days after vaccination, no fewer than three months before the travel date.
An animal health certificate issued by an official veterinarian will also be needed. It will be valid for 10 days from the issue date until entry into EU member states.
Exports of animals and animal products will be carried out assuming the UK is listed as an accepted third country. An Export Health Certificate (EHC), signed by an OV at the inspection point, will be needed for all exports of animal products and live animals from the UK to the EU.
Previous warnings suggested that a no deal Brexit could lead to a 325 per cent increase in the amount of products needing veterinary certification as they enter and leave the country.
A new domestic version of TRACES (Trade Control and Export System) will be introduced at the beginning of 2019. TRACES is a web-based veterinary certification tool used by the EU to control the import and export of live animals and products, within and without its borders. BVA said it is concerned that it has not been approached to assist with the testing and training process for the new system.
The BVA continues to urge the government to add vets to the Shortage Occupation List, to help safeguard against shortfalls in capacity. Nearly 50 per cent of vets registering to work in the UK each year are from the EU and 95 per cent of OVs working in abattoirs are from overseas, predominantly the EU.