News Urgent Call To Name Animal Feed Workers As Key Workers

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Urgent call to name animal feed workers as ‘key workers’
20th March 2020

Pet trade and animal welfare groups are urging the government to for workers in the animal feed sector to be treated as ‘key workers’ so their children will still be able to attend school.

In a letter to Environment Secretary George Eustace, the organisations – co-ordinated by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association – say they have had numerous enquiries and that the issue needed addressing as a matter of urgency for the benefit of the nation’s pets, who are ‘vital for both the mental and physical welfare of the human population, especially over the coming months’.

“We have seen the Cabinet Office Guidance for schools […] on maintaining educational provision…” they write. “We note that the list of essential services covers ‘Food and other necessary goods’ but no reference to animal feed.”

The letter says that ‘food and other necessary goods covers those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)’ and adds:

NECESSARY GOODS

“We would urge you also to include reference here to the production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery of animal feed and other necessary goods.
“Not only will this ensure the continued production and supply of the feed necessary for UK livestock farming, vital to keep the food supply chain flowing and stores and warehouses stocked, but also without such a provision we are very concerned that people will not be able to access the essential provisions needed to ensure the health and welfare of their companion animals, which help provide companionship to their owners, including elderly and vulnerable people who may feel increasingly lonely in the months ahead.
 
“If workers in this sector need to stay at home to provide childcare, they will be unable to produce and distribute the food and other necessary goods needed to keep people’s companion animals alive during any extended period of isolation.” 

The letter was from Bryan Lovegrove, secretary general of the Animal Health Distributors Association; Chris Laurence, chair of the Canine Feline Sector Group; Michael Stanford , chair of the Companion Animal Sector Council; Dawn Howard, chief executive of the National Office of Animal Health; Dominic Whitmee, chief executive of the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association; Michael Bellingham, chief executive of the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association; Nigel Baker, chief executive of the Pet Industry Federation; Chris Newman, chief executive of the Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade Association; and Tim Wass, chair of The Pet Charity.