Delays to post-Brexit checks on animal imports could 'wreak havoc' and expose UK to African Swine Fever

The disease affects all pigs and can be passed on to humans

Published

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) are warning a new delay to checks on EU imports threatens to open the UK up to African Swine Fever.

The move would "wreak havoc" on disease prevention controls according to the BVA.

As reported in The Independent, deferring these checks would be to the detriment of the "first line of defence of biosecurity" at the UK's border, according to the association.

The BVA said: "It will be the fourth delay and open the door even further to the potential incursion of African Swine Fever, which is spreading rapidly.

BVA’s senior vice president, James Russell told ministers: "It would be deeply misguided to push back the need for these vital checks even further and in so doing weaken this layer of protection for both animal and public health."

Downing Street has revealed it is weighing up more delays to checks on EU imports of animal and plant products.

The move is under consideration as these import checks cost £1bn to trade across across The Channel, at a time where living costs are spiralling.

Mr Russell called the disease, which affects all pigs and is not rare in the EU, “devastating”.

He went on: “If this extension is allowed to go ahead it will be the fourth delay.

“Official veterinarians working at the border act as the country’s first line of defence of biosecurity, and we feel it would be deeply misguided to push back the need for these vital checks.”

“Given the ongoing capacity challenges in the workforce it’s really important that we can prepare and allocate resource where it’s most needed.”