Welsh Assembly announces animal disease cost sharing consultation

Four months after Defra announced a public consultation on cost sharing on animal disease with the livestock industry, the Welsh Assembly is carrying out a similar exercise.

Four months after Defra announced a public consultation on responsibility and cost sharing on animal health and welfare with the livestock industry in England, the Welsh Assembly Government is carrying out a similar exercise.

Both the Anderson Inquiry into the Foot & Mouth Disease Epidemic in 2001 and the GB Animal Health and Welfare Strategy launched in 2004 recommended that the costs of livestock health and welfare should be shared between the farming industry and the taxpayer and that those who contribute towards the cost of livestock health and welfare should have greater responsibility for designing and implementing policy.

Rural affairs minister Elin Jones said: "Whilst I continue to have reservations about this being the right time to press ahead with this given that the industry in Wales remains under considerable financial strain, we cannot stand apart from the work currently being done in England on responsibility and cost sharing, which has the potential to impact on our livestock industry. I have therefore taken the decision to consult in Wales."

Jones added:"The consultation is on the fundamental principles which will form the basis of any proposals for Responsibility and Costs Sharing. One of the major aims will be to ensure that full account is taken of Welsh interests including the affordability of proposals on the livestock industry, and securing sufficient flexibility to enable a Wales approach in line with Welsh priorities, for example the eradication of bovine tuberculosis."

He urged all those with an interest in livestock health and welfare and the sustainability of rural Welsh communities to respond to the consultation.

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