Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food
Biosecurity is a priority in the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Implementation Plan for 2015/16. It is considered a priority as it is our first line of defence against serious notifiable infectious diseases like Foot and Mouth disease or Bovine TB. The benefits of having good biosecurity practices at the heart of daily farming life are clear. They can:
- Help protect the health of animals by preventing the spread of infectious animal diseases between farms and within farms; less disease means healthier animals with higher welfare and a better profit margin.
- Help protect the health of people.
- Help the industry to control and eradicate costly disease.
It is vital that we work in partnership with industry organisations and farmers to do everything we can to raise standards of biosecurity on farm. Over a 2 month period in the summer, The Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework - Biosecurity Survey was carried out to establish an indication of baseline evidence on current awareness and biosecurity practices being implemented on farm. The survey also sought information on communication preferences.
The Biosecurity Survey Report presents the results of this survey and the response from the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales. Most importantly, the report also presents proposed next steps. I will be looking to the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group for their advice on taking this forward. I am grateful to the Group, chaired by Peredur Hughes, for their continued commitment to this work.
The promotion of good biosecurity not only contributes towards the strategic outcomes set out in the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework, it also contributes to the outcomes of the Well-Being of Future Generations Act, in particular a prosperous Wales, a resilient Wales and a healthier Wales. It is also aligned to the sustainable development principles of prevention, ability to meet long term needs and collaboration with industry and individual farmers. Involving partners is crucial, ultimately, it is the business owner who will be responsible for implementing improved biosecurity practices on farms.
Work is also continuing to ensure that raising standards of animal health and welfare through good biosecurity is embedded as a far as possible in other work programmes, in particular the Welsh Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme for Wales (2014-20). A key mechanism for achieving this will be through the new Farming Connect Service making biosecurity a core element of the service and advice provided.
A copy of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework – Biosecurity Survey Report can be accessed here