Sheep in Welsh field with dog© Wayne Hutchinson/FLPA/ImageBroker/Rex Shutterstock

The Welsh government is seeking views on plans to allow on-farm isolation units as an alternative to the six-day standstill.

Rebecca Evans, Wales’ deputy minister for farming and food, announced she was launching a consultation on the introduction of quarantine units (QUs) as an exemption for six-day standstill arrangements for cattle, sheep and goats.

Mrs Evans said: “We are determined to do everything we can to help support a prosperous, sustainable industry underpinned by healthy livestock.

See also: Campaign demands changes to six-day standstill rule

“The changes proposed in this consultation are designed to simplify current systems, establish consistent rules across species, and reduce the administrative burden on farmers.

“I would encourage anybody with an interest to respond.”

The unpopularity of the six-day standstill rules associated with the movements of cattle, sheep and goats was highlighted in the Working Smarter report on regulation in farming.

Produced by Gareth Williams, the report provided 74 recommendations to the Welsh government on better regulation in the farming sector.

The Welsh government said it has been working with the industry to simplify and reduce bureaucracy for farmers.

The consultation, launched on Monday (7 December), is looking for views on the benefits of implementing QUs, as well as the proposed legislative changes and the operational rules required.

In October, Welsh livestock farmers launched a campaign for on-farm isolation units. They said the six-day movement standstill rule was severely hampering their ability to trade.

Currently, farmers can’t move sheep and cattle on or off their farms for six days after animals have been brought on to their holding. The rule was introduced as a disease control measure in the wake of the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The consultation, which will run for 10 weeks and closes on the 12 February 2016, is available on the Welsh government’s website.