Welsh vets responsible for TB testing face being moved to ports such as Holyhead to deal with Brexit issues after January 1, presenting major concerns for animal health.
With just weeks to go until the end of the Brexit transition period, Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has admitted additional requirements to certify exports to the EU could result in vets being taken away from their current jobs.
Asked by Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Llyr Gruffydd about the situation at the Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, Ms Griffiths said: “When I raised, for about the third time, [the issue of the shortage of] environmental officers, the answer I got from the UK Government was ’Oh, you will just have to put vets there, will you not?’
“And I remember saying, ‘So, my TB testing will be impacted,’ or the current situation with avian flu, we will just have to take vets off that sort of work.
“It is really unsatisfactory.”
Chief veterinary officer (CVO) for Wales, Christiane Glossop, was also giving evidence to the committee.
She told MSs there is still no understanding of what the requirements are supposed to be to send products to the EU, with less than 50 days to go until January 1.
“What we have been doing is working on a worst-case scenario, and trying to estimate how many vets, how many technicians and so on we are going to need to sign those export certificates – and not just sign certificates, but look at all the associated paperwork,” she said.
The Minister and CVO’s comments came shortly after Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation, explained in an exclusive article for Farmers Guardian’s Brexit hub why Defra’s estimate about the volume of Export Health Certificates required – 300,000 – may be an underestimate.