Shortage of UK Government vets risks delays to shipments of animals and meat at border
A lack of UK Government vets risks exports animals and animal products being delayed at the UK border in a no-deal Brexit scenario, according to the UK Parliament’s own Public Accounts Committee.
In a report, on the UK Department of Agriculture’s progress towards Brexit, it highlighted that in the event of a no-deal exit of the UK from the European Union, the continued shipments of animals and animal products to EU member states will for the first time need to be accompanied by export health certificates.
These certificates currently have to be signed off by vets and the UK Department estimates that the equivalent of around 50 additional full-time vets will be needed to cope with the extra volume.
However, the committee said the actual number of people required would be many more than 50 and said the UK Department is 'cavalier' about enough suitably qualified staff to take on this work being available.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) said there is a need for urgent action to guard against shortfalls in workforce capacity after Brexit.
It says even when access to the Single Market is achieved, there have been warnings previously that a no-deal Brexit could lead to a 325pc increase in the volume of products requiring veterinary certification as they leave and enter the UK.
BVA has warned that Brexit could exacerbate existing shortages and recruitment problems in the workforce and is calling for vets to be reinstated on the Shortage Occupation List to safeguard against shortfalls in capacity.
Simon Doherty, BVA President, said “we have had assurances from Government that there will be enough vets to meet certification demand after Brexit but this does not necessarily tally with what we are hearing from our members.