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Report cover showing cows grazing in a meadow

The health of livestock and honeybees in England

“Defra eradicated outbreaks of Avian Influenza and Foot and Mouth Disease in 2007 before they could spread further. But Bovine Tuberculosis and the Varroa parasite continue to pose significant risks to the livelihoods of farmers and beekeepers. The Department could tackle disease more effectively by working with farmers and their vets to improve farm biosecurity, and by enforcing compulsory testing as well as encouraging beekeepers to register.”

Published:
4 Mar 2009
Report cover showing cows grazing

Foot and Mouth Disease: Applying the Lessons

“The 2001 outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease was devastating not only for many farmers but also for the wider rural community. Continued vigilance is therefore essential. Defra is now much better prepared than in 2001, but still has work to complete, for example to develop a new compensation system for culled animals; to determine how the costs of controlling future livestock disease outbreaks should be borne; to link its central government contingency plans with those of local agencies; and to update Information Technology support for future disease outbreaks.”

Published:
2 Feb 2005
Report cover showing herd of cows

Identifying and Tracking Livestock in England

“Information on the movement of animals around the country is of vital importance in the fight to prevent the spread of animal disease, all the more so when there is a serious outbreak. It is also vital to consumers confidence in the food that they eat. The animal identification and tracking systems in place at present have helped to protect public health but both systems are in need of improvement.

“For both of its current systems and in the implementation of its new Livestock Identification and Tracing Programme, Defra should work with the livestock industry to improve levels of data accuracy and encourage the use of online methods of communicating information.”

Published:
12 Nov 2003
Report cover showing a fish catch

Fisheries Enforcement in England

“The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has improved the effectiveness of enforcement: for example, by requiring larger vessels to land at designated ports to make it easier to target inspections. The low chance of prosecution and the potentially high gains, however, may encourage illegal catches and landing of fish, undermining conservation policies.

“Continuing threats to fish stocks highlight the need for effective enforcement methods, as recognised by the recent reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy agreed by European Union Ministers which seek to tighten controls in all member states.”

Published:
3 Apr 2003
Report cover showing a farm with possible Foot and mouth disease

The 2001 Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease

“This outbreak had a devastating effect on the rural economy and parts of the tourist industry. We must acknowledge that it was of an unprecedented nature and magnitude. In the light of what happened, urgent action is needed to produce contingency plans which would be more sensitive to outbreaks of different scales and thus be better suited to dealing with a future crisis on this scale. Moreover, further research must be carried out into effective measures for tackling foot and mouth. And the means for ensuring minimum standards of cost and financial control in crisis conditions must be established.

“There are lessons to be learned for the whole of government from the foot and mouth crisis. Departments need to be aware of the major threats in their areas of business and to have contingency plans in place which conform with best practice on risk management.”

Published:
21 Jun 2002