Vets warn of risk if animal checks are cut

Ducks on the farm in Nafferton where the bird flu outbreak was reported.
Ducks on the farm in Nafferton where the bird flu outbreak was reported.
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MINISTERS have been urged to reject proposals to reduce farm checks for diseases such as avian flu.

Vets warned the checks play a crucial role in protecting human health and animal safety and should not be sacrificed to save money.

The warning came after a document was leaked to The Guardian, subsequently seen by The Yorkshire Post, suggesting that Ministers are considering significant changes to inspections as part of a drive to cut red tape.

It has emerged as a range of movement restrictions remain in place around a duck farm in Nafferton in East Yorkshire after the discovery of avian flu on the premises.

Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle said: “It is deeply worrying that in the same week that government vets confirmed a case of bird flu in Yorkshire, government ministers were considering plans to end all future bird flu inspections on farms.

“This government’s ideological obsession for deregulation is not only damaging for the future of the food industry, it is putting public health at risk.”

John Blackwell, president of the British Veterinary Association, said: “Cuts cannot come at the expense of animal welfare and health, which if compromised can have serious consequences for human health and food production.”

A Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs spokeswoman said the suggestions come from a report written by “external consultants looking at existing legislation that impacts farmers.”