An unprecedented cross-UK/Republic of Ireland agreement by the cattle
sectors is being developed so the cattle industry can establish a
first ever, nationwide, strategy for health and welfare - and the
new Cattle Health and Welfare Strategy Council (CHAWSC) which will
plan the work meets for the first time in December.
The need for a uniform approach became obvious after farmers, vets
and other specialists, became worried about the confusion and duplication
caused by unstructured emergence of uncoordinated cattle health initiatives.
It was the National Beef Association's Cattle Health Committee
that first suggested the establishment of an all-UK, industry owned
and farmer based, council that could work with governments to establish
common principles and structures.
And the concept was able to be taken forward after the National
Office for Animal Health (NOAH) and Defra agreed to fund the administration
of a steering group drawn from all sectors of the UK's beef and dairy
It confirmed that a collaborative approach was urgently needed
so farmers and vets in all countries could work to an agreed set
of principles to improve the health and welfare of the national herd.
Advancement of the project was boosted because other EU countries
have already adopted a collaborative approach to cattle industry
management and the UK was falling behind in the adoption of national
programmes for the control or eradication of endemic diseases.
It was agreed that the formation of CHAWSC would assist this process
by encouraging direct action at farm level as well as informing governments
of the needs of the industry.
Each meeting will be held at a different location and the host
country will provide the chair for the meeting. The first CHAWSC
meeting will be held in Scotland.
Its first task will be to pull together the cattle health initiatives
operating in each country. This will help to identify the benefits
achieved by different programmes and highlight those that could be
taken up on a cross-UK/ROI basis as well as identify areas which
still need to be addressed.
Representation on the council are still to be confirmed but a core
group has been selected including a nominee from British Cattle Veterinary
Association and others from Wales, Scotland and England. Members
from Northern Ireland, which will work in partnership with the Republic
of Ireland (ROI), are expected to join the Council later.
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