Draft Animal Health Bill

Cows in fieldOn 25 January 2010, Defra published for pre-legislative scrutiny a draft Animal Health Bill to help implement its plans for responsibility and cost sharing to deliver improved animal health and welfare in England.

The main provisions of the draft Bill will:

  • establish the 'Animal Health Organisation' to take over from Defra responsibility for animal health policy and delivery in England
  • put on a statutory footing the role of the Chief Veterinary Officer (UK), who will be based in Defra
  • simplify existing provisions on payments for animals slaughtered, or things seized or destroyed, for disease control purposes in England and Wales.  It will also introduce express provisions to allow reductions in payments where a person has contributed to the spread of disease or breached relevant regulations
  • broaden existing powers in England and Wales to collect and test veterinary samples and vaccinate animals to help in disease management

Defra consulted last year on measures requiring the livestock sector to pay for some of the animal disease monitoring and prevention costs currently met through expenditure incurred by Defra. 

Building greater responsibility sharing through the establishment of the proposed Animal Health Organisation will only help to bring about the essential behaviour change we are seeking in the livestock sector in relation to risk if suitable financial contributions and incentives are also introduced. 

The necessary cost sharing measures will be introduced by the Government under a future Finance Bill.

Further information

Page last modified: 25 January, 2010