News Oata Responds To Call For Evidence On Livestock Movement

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OATA responds to call for evidence on livestock movement
15th April 2021

By Justine Thompson

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA), which represents more than 800 UK aquatic retailers, has responded to a government call for evidence on moving animals across borders.

In a written submission from chief executive Dominic Whitmee to EFRA (the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs committee) OATA said it was focusing its replies on questions most pertinent to the UK aquatics industry.

In answer to a question about the movement of livestock across borders, Dominic responded that the UK did not currently have sufficient capacity to certify, record and inspect all the animal movements across its borders.

In February, OATA felt compelled to write to the Secretary of State for Defra to highlight ‘significant problems’ associated with the import of live ornamental fish. It subsequently lodged a complaint with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in relation to the behaviour exhibited by some staff at Heathrow airport, where 80% of ornamental fish arrive into the UK.

The submission suggests consideration be given to appointing suitably trained non-veterinary staff to assist veterinary officials in undertaking welfare checks of imported fish at the border, to help in freeing up official vets to carry out other animal inspections.

OATA also asked for electronic certificates and paperwork to be accepted without the need for hard-copy documentation.

In response to a further question, Dominic said: “Historically, ornamental fish have been imported into GB for onward transit to Northern Ireland. Despite the efforts of officials to ease the movement of live ornamental fish across the border to NI, we know from discussions with our member businesses that trade with Northern Ireland since 1 January 2021 has been extremely difficult as a result of the Northern Ireland Protocol. We are aware from our member businesses that the bureaucracy and cost now involved is making NI businesses move from GB to EU suppliers.

A particular issue is the need for 100% of each consignment to be checked at the Northern Irish boarder, compared to around 10% for imports into GB, he said.

Other issues in the submission include the balance of animal health and welfare against economic interests and prevention of illegal export/import activity.

To see the response in full visit https://ornamentalfish.org/moving-animals-across-borders-consultation/