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New Veterinary Attestation Rule for Farmers to Be Introduced on 13th December

Mon 17 July 2023

What’s changing?

Changes in legislation, as from 13th December 2023, will require all producers selling livestock for slaughter to have had an annual farm veterinary visit to allow their animals, and/or part of any animal, to be exported out of the UK. The purpose of the new rule is to comply with EU export requirements to verify the absence of notifiable disease and provide general advice on farm biosecurity.

Why is this changing?

The Statutory Health Attestation is required from the 13 December 2023 to certify exports of POAO (Products of Animal Origin) to the EU. The EHCs (Export Health Certificates) require that the animals' farm of origin has undergone regular visits by a veterinary surgeon.

What do producers need to do?

Producers will be required to obtain a signed declaration from their vet that the visit has taken place.

The LAA recommends that producers take steps now to obtain a signed declaration from their vet.

The veterinary attestation template can be found here: veterinary attestation template

This should be signed and completed by the farm vet.

Obtaining a signed veterinary attestation must be done at least once over a 12-month period and can be combined with any other routine veterinary visit, including government supported initiatives such as the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway in England. 

Farmers and vets must keep a copy of their completed declarations and the “unique reference number” created, for their records and to provide to their livestock auction market or meat processor.

It is expected that the sheep movement document will be updated to include a declaration that a visit has taken place, with additional space to include the “unique reference number” – We will confirm this once Defra have signed the process off.

Farms that are part of qualifying assurance schemes do not need to complete the veterinary declaration. Membership of these farm assurance schemes is accepted as evidence that a premises of origin meets the requirement for regular health visits from a vet. The qualifying schemes are:

  • Annual health and welfare review (England only)
  • Quality Meat Scotland (QMS)
  • Farm Assured Welsh Livestock Beef and Lamb Scheme (FAWL) (Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Ltd (WLBP))
  • Red Tractor

Farmer declarations can be used until 13th December.

Farmer declarations can continue to be used as a source of evidence for the certification of the ‘regular vet visit’ until 13 December 2023. After this date, certification will be needed from either membership of a qualifying farm assurance scheme or via a valid veterinary declaration. 

It is recommended that all non-assured keepers of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs consigning animals through markets for slaughter ensure they obtain a valid health attestation annually.

It should be noted that some parts of all animals slaughtered in the UK are exported to the EU. Therefore, this requirement is applicable to all animals.

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