It has been reported that Boris Johnson has banned the use of the word 'Brexit' in Whitehall. I would far rather that it had been banned from general conversation earlier. Whatever your politics and leanings are in relation to this, we have now gone past the point of no return and the future is either paved with gold or the road to the bad place, depending on your point of view.
While the future for the politicians and civil servants is filled with positioning on trade agreements and the like, there seems little we can do at welly level to influence what might happen. However there will be many consultations and opportunities to input opinion and evidence and if you are minded to do this I would urge you get involved in these consultations whether it is independently or through the NPA. There will be a number of communications coming your way which will need a response - please engage as much as possible.
In front of us, the day to day business of farming goes on. While we might not have a vision for the future that goes beyond 2020, we have more immediate actions to address. The new Welfare Codes are in the process of being placed into legislation, and after a short period they will be enforced. I know that in recent months we have been noting the changes that are coming in, notably, the increase in requirement for manipulable materials in non-straw based systems; enrichment in farrowing houses and environmental monitoring.
While some of the requirements are not as draconian or prescriptive as we thought there are still some areas which might need addressing. We now have environmental monitoring equipment which you may see out on farm in the coming weeks and months. While we aren't suggesting that all farms have a problem it will be very useful to us to get an idea of what 'normal' is, and whether we can easily detect whether or not there is potentially a problem. We will be using a protocol not dissimilar to that of the APHA in how we measure things like light and ammonia levels which will hopefully give us, and you, a level of confidence that we are compliant with legislation and guidelines. Please bear with (some of) us as we get used to this equipment - I firmly believe that the more information we collect 'in house' the better placed we will be to advise, but also to challenge.
There will be a period of change as we become more familiar with what APHA requires for farms to be compliant (I have no doubt there will be an increase in paperwork) but we will do our best to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.
Annie Davis BVMS MRCVS