01/08/2005

Department consults on animal health and welfare strategy

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is seeking views on the draft Northern Ireland Animal Health and Welfare Strategy.

The draft strategy proposes four key themes or principles, which will direct animal health and welfare policy and delivery over the next 10 years.

These are: working in partnership; a clearer understanding of costs and benefits of animal health and welfare; promoting the benefits of animal health and welfare - prevention is better than cure; ensuring effective delivery and enforcement.

These are all underpinned by the fifth theme of understanding and accepting roles and responsibilities.

Speaking at the launch of the document on Monday, Agriculture Minister Jeff Rooker said: "There is wide consensus on the need for a new approach to animal health and welfare in Northern Ireland.

"Increasing public concern over food safety, pressure for appropriate standards of animal welfare and concerns over the cost to the taxpayer of animal disease, have all led to the need to reassess the approach to animal health and welfare in Northern Ireland."

He said the draft Animal Health and Welfare Strategy had been developed to provide this new strategic approach.

"It sets out a clear vision of a sustainable future for animal health and welfare in Northern Ireland and provides a framework to help meet this vision," the Minister concluded.

(MB/SP)

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