Defra appoints chairman to new animal health board

Defra has appointed Michael Seals as the chairman to the new Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE), Jim Paice has announced.

The AHWBE was launched last December to make direct recommendations on policy affecting the health and welfare of all kept animals. It aims to bring together experts, including farmers, veterinarians, animal welfare experts and civil servants, to develop key policies and how they should be funded, assess the risk of threats from animal disease and how to manage them and review and develop contingency plans for dealing with new disease outbreaks.

Seals is a livestock and arable farmer. He served as a member of a sub group of the Responsibility and Cost Sharing Advisory Group and was responsible for the establishment of the National Fallen Stock Company. He has held a number of chair and committee positions, including chairman of the NFU National Food Standards Committee.

Paice said: “This is a completely new way of working, giving real influence to those who are doing the work on the ground. We need a strong chairman of the AHWBE for it to work successfully, and I welcome this first crucial step in putting in place the new structures needed to help us work more closely with industry and stakeholders.

“Michael’s appointment puts us in a strong position to face the challenges of delivering high standards of animal health and welfare in England and the competitiveness of our industry. I look forward to working with him.”

Seals will form part of the selection panel for other external board members, who are expected to be appointed in October.

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