Like yesterday Report of the Public Accounts Committee identified, there is a critical shortage of vets in the UK linked to many factors including Covid-19, exit from the EU, increased demand for vets for export health certification and an increase in the number of pet owners. Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons The figures show that between 2019 and 2021, entries into the UK veterinary profession fell by 26%, while 2020 saw the highest number of vets leaving UK practice in 10 years.
Official veterinarians play a key role in carrying out official controls. If official vets could not be supplied consistently, slaughterhouses would not be able to operate, with significant consequences for Britain’s £9billion meat industry.
Junior Johnson, Chief Operating Officer, said:
“Despite difficulties in recruiting veterinarians, the Food Standards Agency has maintained full and continuous service delivery of official controls in slaughterhouses and there have been no service interruptions to date.
“Official vets are however very scarce and we are working with partners to find solutions to what is a systemic resourcing issue so that the FSA can continue to provide a reliable service to industry and maintain food safety, protect animal health and welfare. , and enable businesses to sell food domestically and internationally.
A letter outlining the proposed changes will be shared with slaughterhouses and cutting plants today. He invites feedback on how these proposed changes may impact their business. The information gathered will be used to inform the FSA’s decision-making and to guide the next steps of the project.