Coalition ditches plans for animal health body

Plans for an independent animal health body have been shelved by the coalition government, according to the NFU.

The union’s head of food and farming, Kevin Pearce, said that the move had been made as part of DEFRA’s cost-cutting measures under the forthcoming departmental spending review.

Proposals for the body, which was to take over control of animal health from DEFRA, had been put forward by the Labour government in its Animal Health Bill. The body formed part of Labour’s responsibility and cost-sharing measures.

Mr Pearce told NFU council delegates on Tuesday, 12 October, that the coalition government had no interest in adding to costs by creating a new body.

But he warned that cost-sharing was still on the agenda.

He said the extent of the planned cuts meant it was inevitable farmers would still have to shoulder the cost of animal health policy.