UK Parliament warned that NI faces a "public health emergency" unless permanent access to vet medicines is secured - Veterinary Practice
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UK Parliament warned that NI faces a “public health emergency” unless permanent access to vet medicines is secured

British Veterinary Association Northern Ireland Branch president and two past presidents give oral evidence to a House of Lords Windsor Framework sub-committee on post-Brexit vet medicines access issue

British Veterinary Association (BVA) Northern Ireland Branch president Esther Skelly-Smith, BVA NI Branch past president and honorary secretary Mark Little and BVA past president Simon Doherty warned that Northern Ireland is facing a “public health emergency” if a permanent solution to ensure continued access to veterinary medicines is not found.

The warning was delivered as they appeared in front of the House of Lords European Affairs Select Committee Windsor Framework Sub-Committee on Wednesday 17 January 2024.

The sub-committee is conducting a new inquiry into the Windsor Framework and continued access to veterinary medicines in Northern Ireland, which faces being severely impacted due to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

In their evidence they outlined the implications should the current grace period allowing access to continue under existing regulations end in 2025 without a permanent, workable solution in place.

This could see Northern Ireland lose access to an estimated 51 percent of veterinary medicines, including vaccines for zoonotic diseases such as salmonella and leptospirosis, as well as insulin for dogs and cats and flu and tetanus vaccines for horses.

BVA NI President Esther Skelly-Smith said: “If the current grace period expires without an agreement, the potential consequences are vast and severe.

Northern Ireland would be left facing a very real public health emergency and serious implications for the farming industry as well as potentially devastating outcomes for the equine sector and companion animals unable to get the treatment they need.

“It’s crucial a permanent solution is found to ensure the protection of Northern Ireland’s animal and public health and the agricultural economy is able to continue.”

Watch the full committee session here, with BVA’s evidence from 16.24.

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