Defra has announced the first non-executive members of the new Animal Health and Welfare Board for England: Stewart Houston, Stuart Roberts, Mark Tufnell and veterinary surgeon Tim Morris. They will join chair Michael Seals in developing the Government's strategic Animal Health and Welfare policy.

The Board will make direct recommendations to ministers on policy affecting the health and welfare of all kept animals such as farm animals, horses and pets.

The creation of the Board was one of the main recommendations of the Responsibility and Cost Sharing Advisory Group, chaired by Rosemary Radcliffe, which reported in December 2010.

Commenting, Carl Padgett, President of the British Veterinary Association, said:

"Responsibility and cost sharing has been on the agenda for some time and we are pleased to see that it is now progressing.

"The BVA was supportive of the recommendation of the Radcliffe group to create an expert Animal Health and Welfare Board and we welcome the announcement that it will now start work in November.

"The Board has the very difficult task of taking forward the responsibility agenda and shaping the way costs will be shared in the future. It must fully engage with all stakeholders if it is to succeed in taking everyone forward in agreement.

"We are also keen to see how the Board will closely with the devolved administrations to ensure that animal health and welfare policies across the UK are joined up."

(Source: bva.org.uk)