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New veterinary visit requirement for non-assured producers from December

27th Jun 2023 / By Alistair Driver

The Pig Veterinary Society has reminded producers and vets of a new post-Brexit veterinary requirement that will affect non-assured producers from December.

Gemma Thwaites PTFrom December 13, 2023, UK producers sending animals to market or to slaughter must be able to demonstrate that a veterinary visit has taken place in the past 12 months.

EU Animal Health Regulations now require farms producing animals or products of animal origin for export to the EU to have regular veterinary visits.

A temporary measure allowed farmers to self-declare, but this ends in December. At least some portion of most carcases is exported, which means that most farm businesses will need to ensure compliance, PVS president Gemma Thwaites said.

In practice, the issue is mainly relevant to unassured producers. The requirement can be certified if the farm is a member of a recognised assurance scheme, such as Red Tractor, Welsh Beef and Lamb Producers and Quality Meat Scotland, or when a visit has taken place as part of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway for England.

Otherwise, the farm will need to arrange a visit so that the declaration can be provided, Ms Thwaites added.

"In summary, any assured farms Red Tractor/QMS are exempt and do not have to be certified separately, so there is no requirement for action. It is unassured farms where it is possible that even part of the carcass could end up being exported that require this certification," she said.

The template veterinary declaration for animal health visits is now available for you to download and use when you carry out an animal health check on farm.

You can download the declaration here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/veterinary-declaration-for-animal-health-visits

When vets certify the visit, they should:

  • provide a copy of the completed declaration to the farmer
  • advise the farmer they must keep a copy of the completed declaration for their records
  • store a copy of the declaration on your veterinary practice clinical notes database.

Defra is currently working on further supporting guidance, including some FAQs.