Northern Ireland could lose half its veterinary medicines in Brexit row
Northern Ireland could lose half of its veterinary medicines in a new Brexit row threatening to prolong the political stalemate in the region, it has emerged.
Requirement for animal medicines to be batch-tested in EU could see products discontinued, BVA warns
“Failure to obtain a permanent solution could see Northern Ireland lose access to 51% of the veterinary medicines it currently receives. This would affect all sectors – farm, equine, pigs, poultry, and pets – and will have significant implications on animal health and welfare, public health, trade, and the agricultural economy,” the BVA wrote.
The issue is one of several raised in a new report by the House of Lords protocol on Northern Ireland committee.
“Though the Windsor framework is a clear improvement over the original protocol, it is highly complex,” said the committee chair, Michael Jay. “Businesses need clarity. The government and the European Union (EU) both need urgently to explain what the Windsor framework means in practice for businesses.”
The committee examined in detail the economic, political, legal and constitutional impact of the Windsor framework. The issue over the Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland have cast a long shadow over local politics with the Democratic Unionist party boycotting a return to powersharing for the past 18 months.
The framework was designed to dramatically reduce the barriers to trade that arose from the original Brexit deal sealed by David Frost in 2020. It requires businesses in Great Britain to treat N. Ireland as if it was within the EU, meaning exports to the region had to comply with EU laws.
Under the Windsor framework most of these checks are swept away for goods that can be proved to be sold only in Northern Ireland, especially in supermarkets, corner shops, and canteens in schools, hospitals and factories.
But the committee heard there were still issues around the movement of livestock from N. Ireland to Great Britain and back. Also posing a problem was the sheer technical and legal complexity of the framework.
The committee called on the government and the EU to do more to explain in plain English what the provisions of the framework meant in practice, and to publish a comprehensive summary including a consolidated text of the amended original protocol.