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Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL6457, tabled on 19 March 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address the potential shortage of veterinary surgeons working in abattoirs after Brexit.

Answered on

3 April 2018

There are currently 14 official veterinarians from the United Kingdom and 311 official veterinarians from European Union countries carrying out official controls across 303 approved slaughterhouses.

Official veterinarians play a vital role in safeguarding UK public health, maintaining animal health and welfare and enabling trade. To deliver official hygiene and animal welfare controls in slaughterhouses, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) relies on EU nationals who work as official veterinarians and contract meat inspectors. If, post exit, it is no longer possible to recruit new vets from other EU member states, veterinary resource will need to be sourced from elsewhere to fulfil this role. The FSA is also aware of potential increase in workforce needed to carry out other regulatory functions once the UK is outside the EU, and is planning for a range of scenarios relating to this to ensure that the UK maintains the excellent standards of food safety that the UK currently enjoys, and maintain an effective workforce.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care