Rob Newbery, NFU chief adviser leading on the Animal Health Bill gives 10 reasons why you should have your say.


• Proposals for new legislation will affect every livestock producer in the country

• It isn’t just a normal consultation – it’s a consultation on an unsatisfactory draft Bill which if not amended will become law

• It remains unclear whether the new body would be sufficiently independent to give farmers a genuine say on animal health policy and development

• The proposed new body would be a non-departmental public body answerable to DEFRA and needing to secure DEFRA funding. Therefore in our view the body would not be truly independent

• The current text of the draft Bill gives farmers a limited say in the appointment of the new body’s chairman and board members

• The new body could merely sit within DEFRA like a separate directorate, with a chairman and board appointed by the Secretary of State – which isn’t responsibility sharing

• Cost-sharing measures would be introduced through a separate Finance Bill – leaving the door open for the Treasury to impose an “animal tax” on farmers

• The proposed new body will have no say on animal welfare – an issue which remains within DEFRA’s remit

• Vastly different types of farming systems and animal diseases make it impossible to devise guidelines enabling compensation to be withheld from farmers who irresponsibly spread disease – however sensible the idea may seem

• There is still time to make significant changes to this draft bill during the parliamentary process so the new body is made “fit for purpose”.

• For more on the Animal Health Bill