To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the merits of a preventative approach to animal health in improving the productivity of agriculture; and what steps he will take to reward farmers that take such an approach.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will (a) take steps through the Agriculture Bill to increase animal health standards and (b) make an assessment of the merits of a resilient approach to disease management to reduce productivity losses and subsequent food shortages.
The Government is highly supportive of a resilient and preventative approach to livestock disease which supports higher productivity in farming and enables wider benefits. The approach was endorsed in responses to our consultation paper Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit. The potential was set out, for example, in ‘Study to Model the Impact of Controlling Endemic Cattle Diseases and Conditions on National Cattle Productivity, Agricultural Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions’.
We are now working with industry and veterinary representatives to develop practical plans to further this approach and the Agriculture Bill is drafted to give the Secretary of State powers to make payments to protect and improve the health of livestock and to collect and share data relating to livestock health and traceability.