European rules require that import documents for live animals be signed by a vet prior to Customs clearance irrespective of the risk a particular consignment poses. This requirement increases costs to both business and government. If Animal Health Officers (AHO) were permitted, as used to be the case, to sign relevant import documents under the supervision of vets, then costs and pressure on veterinary expertise could be reduced without increasing risk. For example, consignments of tropical marine and freshwater organisms are lower risk, not least because they could not survive release in the wild, and their import could be approved by AHOs. This would allow vets to devote time to targeted inspection of higher risk consignments. Thus there would be an increase in bio security with concomitant reduction in costs and delays incurred by businesses importing low risk consignments.

Why is this idea important?

It would reduce costs to business and government and the use of veterinary expertise based on risk rather than a blanket administrative requirement to enhance biosecurity.

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