Agricultural Policy

UK Livestock Sector Commitment Continues to Drive Down Drug Use

According to information provided at the recent British Cattle Veterinary Association congress, alterations made to the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme (RTA) have driven further reductions in the use of High Priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HP-CIAs) across the UK.

Following the introduction of the new RTA standards in 2018, HP-CIA usage has fallen by a tremendous 92 percent. 

Under the new RTA standards, CIAs can only be used only as a last resort and require vet approval which is guided by sensitivity or diagnostic testing.  In addition, farms must record their annual medicine usage and discuss the use of these critical antibiotics with their vet.

The UK livestock sector has already made significant in-roads in antibiotic use reduction and these most recent results follow on from previous reductions in drug use.  In October 2017, the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) announced that the sales of antibiotics to treat and prevent disease in UK livestock had reduced by 27 percent in the preceding two years.   Prior to this most recent reduction, overall UK sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals in 2017 was 37mg/kg and this is one of the lowest in the EU. 

Alongside the 92 percent reduction in HP-CIAs, total sales of antibiotics fell by 22 percent during the same period.  This reduction occurred despite the fact that lower priority antibiotics often require a larger dose of the active ingredient to be successful.  This reduction in total sales therefore further demonstrates the commitment by the UK livestock sector to continue to reduce overall usage.

The FUW continues to support moves to reduce and protect antibiotic use in livestock and continues to work with numerous stakeholders on this issue. 

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News In Brief

i) Basic Payment Scheme Extension To 2021 Planned

Following further delays to Brexit,  the Minister for Environmental, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has announced plans to extend the current Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to 2022 - subject to sufficient funding from the next UK Government.  This means that the earliest any transition to a new system of farm support can begin will be 2022.

ii) Additional Funding for Wales’ National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn, has announced a £4m funding boost for Wales’ National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) on top of the £3m that was announced in March.

The funding will support Welsh Government proposals such as greening measures and biodiversity, while enhancing tourism facilities and access.

Click here to see the funding allocations for each designated landscape.

iii) Elwen Roberts Wins Meat Business Woman Award

Popular cook Elwen Roberts has won the Meat Business Woman Award at the Women in Meat Industry Awards in London this month.

Elwen, the Consumer Executive for Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC), was recognised for her commitment to Wales’ red meat sector.  Elwen undertales cooking demonstrations in schools and for S4C to help children understand where food comes from and the value of Welsh meat in a balanced diet.

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Basic Payment Scheme Extension To 2021 Planned

Following further delays to Brexit,  the Minister for Environmental, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has announced plans to extend the current Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to 2021 - subject to sufficient funding from the next UK Government.  This means that the earliest any transition to a new system of farm support can begin will be 2022.

Around 75% of BPS claimants will receive their payments at the start of the payment window this year.  Those who don’t and have registered for the BPS Loan Support Scheme will receive 90% of the claim value from 9 December.

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Forecast Suggests High Risk of Liver Fluke This Winter

According to provisional data from NADIS, farmers in the North Wales area should be aware of the risk factors associated with liver fluke due to the wet weather this year.

Liver fluke can be seen in both sheep and cattle and can lead to chronic health problems such as reduced fertility, poor growth rates and increased susceptibility to other health issues.  Risk factors include previous history of fluke on farm or grazing in wet or poached areas.  

Reducing fluke and parasites is part of HCC’s Stoc+ project within the Red Meat Development Programme.  Farming Connect are also running workshops on parasite control in sheep throughout December and into 2020.  See here for details.


 

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TB Petition Calling For Rule Change

There is an independent petition calling for changes to TB Enhanced Management measures.  It currently has around 3000 signatures.  FUW members interested in signing the petition can find it here.
One of the main concerns is the slaughter of inconclusive reactors during Enhanced Management measures but please see the full petition for details.  
In October 2017, Welsh Government introduced ‘Enhanced Measures’ which sees any farm in the high risk regions that have been under restriction for 18 months subject to tighter control measures.

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