President Daniella dos Santos addresses guests at dinner in Stormont
At a dinner in Stormant on Tuesday (26 November) BVA president Daniella Dos Santos praised vets for their work to prepare for Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU).
The BVA has previously raised concerns about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on vets in Northern Ireland, saying it would lead to a significant rise in demand for veterinary certifications for animals and animal products over the land border into the EU. The organisation also believes a no-deal scenario would place new demands on vets trying to fulfil vaccination and rabies testing demands for owners wanting to travel with their pet.
Addressing more than 80 guests, including key representatives from animal health and welfare organisations, NI’s chief veterinary officer Robert Huey, and colleagues from across the veterinary profession, Ms Santos said:
“We know that a lot is being to prepare for, communicate and mitigate against the challenges that a no-deal scenario could present. An example of this was the recent DAERA certification training days, which nearly 150 vets attended to get the qualifications needed to certify animal products in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
"The turn-out across two days included small animal vets, recently retired vets and vets on maternity leave, all wanting to do their bit to get the sector as primed and ready as possible for the precited increase in demand for certification services if we do leave without a deal. I see each and every vet who came along as a credit to the workforce and a sterling supporter of Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.”
Later on in her speech, Ms Santos called for support for BVA’s new manifesto for animals, vets, and public health. The document sets out ten pledges for political parties to sign up to ahead of the General Election, including a call to reject a no-deal Brexit.
She said: “Our pledges range from species-specific improvements, such as a ban on keeping primates as pets, to changes in how legislation is developed and enacted, such as a commitment to uphold animal welfare standards in future trade deals and agricultural policy.
"We want to see the principle of animal sentience finally pushed over the line and into law, and we want to see animal welfare on the national curriculum, to give future generations an early start in understanding what it means to care for animals and ensure they lead a happy, healthy life.
“Where pledges span devolved policy, we will be engaging with DAERA in lieu of a minister to ensure that they are implemented in Northern Ireland.”