Freedom Food meeting debates Farm Licensing

EVERYONE CARING for stock should have to display evidence of their competence to do so before being allowed to work with animals.

That was the message Mac Johnston of the Royal Vet College gave to delegates at the RSPCA Freedom Food conference in London last week.

“The new EU food hygiene rules require every unit to be registered, but there is no demand for any skills to be shown. There needs to be some measure of the ability of people to care for animals.

 “The problem will be auditing and verifying this. We also need to decide what to do when something goes wrong.

There is a case to be made for educating rather than prosecuting those who fail despite good intentions.”

 But John McInerney of Exeter University said there was no case to be made for licensing producers. “There is every reason, in terms of disease control to register livestock holdings.

 But there is no case for a licence; this implies it is something which can be withdrawn. What would be the business implications of this?”