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Health must not be forgotten

Animal medicines can help health strategy succeed but companion animals should not be forgotten

Animal medicines are an integral part of the future health and welfare of Britain’s animals, and those involved with their manufacture can help make DEFRA’s plans succeed.

In its comments on the implementation plan for the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy in England and Wales, NOAH chief executive Phil Sketchley was pleased to see a new initiative on veterinary medicines. “As the inclusion of this initiative shows, animal medicines, responsibly used, form part of the backbone of the strategy.”

The implementation plan is another good step on the way to implementing the strategy for animal health and welfare, particularly in relation to farm animals. But it is important, while companion animal welfare is encompassed by the draft Animal Welfare Bill, the the health needs of companion animals are not sidelined. “And it is important that parliament is given the time to discuss this important Bill,” added Mr Sketchley.

He went on to explain: “The main thrust of planning for companion animal health focuses on rabies, and medicine manufacturers will of course be happy to continue to help in relation to the vaccines and other products that help make PETS possible. But it is important not to forget other exotic diseases, not necessarily zoonotic, which may enter as animals come into the country. There is scope for awareness and information to be disseminated to and through the veterinary profession, and to the public, on what to look out for in travelling animals.”

NOAH sees a role for animal medicine manufacturers to be included directly as an agent to help deliver the initiative, through the information they provide about the medicines they make. This is important, as NOAH can also offer expertise in medicines for companion animals. “Companion animal health must not be forgotten,” Mr Sketchley said.