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Edwin Poots calls for UK and EU to solve veterinary supply issues to avoid animal welfare in NI being put ‘needlessly at risk’

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Data from industry suggests that 51% of veterinary medicines would be discontinued in NI if Protocol requirements are applied. (Stock image via Getty Images)

Data from industry suggests that 51% of veterinary medicines would be discontinued in NI if Protocol requirements are applied. (Stock image via Getty Images)

Data from industry suggests that 51% of veterinary medicines would be discontinued in NI if Protocol requirements are applied. (Stock image via Getty Images)

Edwin Poots has called for the UK and EU to make urgent progress on supply issues affecting the movement of veterinary medicines from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.

The Agriculture Minister has said he finds the matter “most disconcerting” and added it “affects some critical products such as cardiovascular medicines, anaesthetics and vaccines, including those that prevent salmonella and E. coli.” 

Data from the industry has suggested that 51 per cent of veterinary medicines would be discontinued if the Northern Ireland Protocol measures are applied. 

"The discontinuation of vaccines in NI would have severe repercussions for animal health and welfare here and give rise to unnecessary animal suffering, not to mention the risk it would present to human health and trade” said Minister Poots in a statement provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. 

“I have stated on many occasions that it is completely unacceptable that the Protocol would prevent NI from having access to the same veterinary medicines as other parts of the UK. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that all possible steps are taken to prevent suppliers from withdrawing or reducing the range of products available in NI and protect the availability of medicines here.”

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Late last year, NOAH (National Office of Animal Health) welcomed recognition of Northern Ireland Protocol veterinary medicines supply concerns saying it provided “some certainty for the NI market in the short term with existing arrangements remaining in place until the end of 2022.” 

Minister Poots added: “While I acknowledge the EU recognition of the current agreed grace period in relation to these moves, that recognition only extends to the end of this year so is simply not enough. Industry needs certainty and there must be no barriers put in place that would risk the health and welfare of animals in Northern Ireland.

"I am also concerned about the additional burden our industry would face if it had to meet all the additional EU requirements for the movement of veterinary medicines to NI when they are simply not necessary. 

“I note that talks between the UK and EU on this matter have stalled. I, therefore, recently wrote to both the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the European Commission calling for urgent action to find a sensible, permanent and pragmatic solution to the matter.

"If an agreed solution is not possible, I have also urged the Secretary of State to take any measures at his disposal, including the exercise of any powers that may be available to him under the NI Protocol Bill, to ensure that the disturbing picture painted by industry does not become a reality and that the welfare of animals here is not needlessly put at risk.”


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