Enhancing standards in a way which safeguards trade and builds a more sustainable farming sector are key to the Welsh Government's new Animal Health and Welfare Implementation Plan.
This is the message from Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths as the final Implementation Plan published under the current Framework was launched yesterday, which covers 2022-24.
The Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework sets out a 10 year plan (2014-2024) for lasting improvements for the health and welfare of kept animals, whilst also contributing to the protection of public health, the economy and environment. A new framework will be introduced in 2024.
The 2022-24 Implementation Plan is published in the face of the combined challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the European Union as well as the climate crisis and comes as a significant series of avian influenza cases are experienced across the UK.
The ambition to ensure the very highest standards in Wales is captured in the plan's headline aspirations One Health, One Welfare and Biosecurity, which embraces all aspects of animal health and welfare as well as the complex interactions with human health and well-being, and the environment.
The One Health and One Welfare concepts acknowledge human health and animal health and welfare are interdependent, and rely on the health and welfare of the environment within which they co-exist. This approach is focused on achieving better outcomes through more effective collaboration and communication across multiple sectors.
The plan addresses key aspects of animal health and welfare, and emphasises biosecurity which is everyone's responsibility. This is a particularly poignant message as unprecedented levels of avian influenza are experienced across the UK. Scrupulous biosecurity is the best approach to protecting domestic birds from infection.
Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths yesterday said:
The landscape has changed dramatically since leaving the EU and the coronavirus pandemic has certainly tested our resilience.
Reviving and relaunching our Implementation Plan now provides an opportunity to put animal health and welfare at the forefront in addressing the issues and challenges we face in a sustainable, collaborative and coherent way.
We want every animal in Wales to have a good quality life and this is reflected in our Programme for Government, giving us an opportunity to build on all we have achieved since animal health and welfare powers were devolved to Wales.
This Implementation Plan complements the five-year Animal Welfare Plan for Wales which was published in November. The strategies and actions contained in each are integrated and interdependent, demonstrating our determination to work in a co-ordinated way.
Our proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme will also have animal health and welfare as a key component, drawing on our collective ambition to further enhance Wales' reputation as a nation which loves, cares for and respects its animals.
The scope of this Implementation Plan is wide ranging and through real collaborative working, I am confident we can continue to raise animal health and welfare standards.