From 13 December 2023, all farmers who produce livestock or livestock products destined for the food chain, which may be exported to the European Union, will require proof of an annual veterinary visit.
The purpose of a vet attestation is to comply with export requirements to verify the absence of notifiable disease and provide general advice on farm biosecurity.
This visit will generate a 20-digit Veterinary Attestation Number (VAN), issued by the practising vet, which must be renewed annually and included on any movement licences issued for the 12 month period for which it is valid, after which a new VAN will be required.
This requirement applies to farm-to-slaughter and farm-to-processor movements only; farm-to-farm movement licences are not affected. Direct sales to consumers or supply chains that will not be exported, will also not be affected
Farms in certain farm assurance schemes don’t need to do anything new as the schemes already require an annual vet visit.
The current qualifying farm assurance schemes are:
If you are not part of the above farm assurance schemes and your livestock products may be exported to the EU, you will need to arrange for your vet to issue you with a VAN number. Vet Attestation visits can be combined with other routine vet visits, so long as all livestock species on the farm are considered and the vet can assess the biosecurity risk in relation to notifiable disease.
If you want to sell livestock products after 13th December you will need to have had a vet visit that enables your vet to issue a VAN, they may be able to issue you one retrospectively if they have already carried out a suitable visit this year. You will need to contact your vet about that. If not, you will need to arrange a new visit before the livestock or their products can be sold into a supply chain that may be going to the EU.
The VAN number needs to be sent with every lot of livestock or livestock products.
Learn more about the VAN requirements from Defra
FAQs for industry and vets
Read Defra’s blog about the Annual Health and Welfare review