Role of the group
The Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE) is the principal source of departmental advice to Defra ministers on all strategic health and welfare matters relating to all kept animals in England.
The Board’s role is to set the strategic policy framework, using it as the basis for day-to-day advice to ministers and day-to-day operational actions.
The board has strategic oversight of Defra policy in England in relation to:
- animal health
- animal welfare
- those public health implications of animal diseases that fall within Defra’s remit
- transmission of disease to humans via animals
- all kept animals (including companion animals and aquaculture)
The health of circus and zoo animals falls within scope in relation to disease prevention matters only. Advice on the welfare of circus and zoo animals will be covered by officials in Defra.
The board’s responsibilities include:
- developing and implementing animal health and welfare policy and ensuring value for money
- assessing of the risk of threats from animal disease and what the surveillance and research priorities should be
- monitoring the regulatory framework
- approving the operational plans of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency and other bodies
- reviewing contingency plans for dealing with new disease outbreaks
For more details about the governance and remit of the AHWBE, see the terms of reference. This also includes details of the sub-groups on finance and strategy.
AHWBE brings together independent people with relevant knowledge and skills, and senior government officials:
Michael Seals MBE, Chairman of the National Fallen Stock Company
- Richard Davis, Farmer Director of First Milk Ltd
- Stewart Houston, Chairman of British Pig Executive (BPEX)
- Tim Morris, science and welfare advisor
- Stuart Roberts, Agriculture and Livestock Director at Anglo Beef Processors
- Jonathan Rushton, an agricultural economist
- Mark Tufnell, chair of the Agriculture and Land Use National Committee for the Country Land and Business Association (CLA)
Each non-executive member of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England is responsible for engagement and communication with a portfolio of internal and external stakeholders. These are listed in the current annual report.
The non-executive board members have published a register of interests.
- Nigel Gibbens, Chief Veterinary Officer
- Chris Hadkiss, Chief Executive of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA)
- Alick Simmons, Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer
Recommendations to Defra ministers
The AHWBE has made a number of recommendations on strategic policy affecting the health and welfare of kept animals in England, which Defra ministers have accepted.
Defra ministers expect to accept the advice agreed by the board. If, in exceptional circumstances, Defra ministers decide not to accept the board’s advice, they make public the reasons for taking a different view.
- AHWBE annual report, 2012 to 2013
- AHWBE forward work plan, 2012
- AHWBE guiding principles
- AHWBE code of practice
- Review and evaluation: Animal Health and Welfare Board for England
Minutes of meetings
We publish notes of our meetings as follows.
Earlier minutes are available on the National Archives website
Phone: 020 7238 4953
Area 5C, Nobel House
17 Smith Square
- Reducing bovine tuberculosis
- Protecting animal health and preventing disease, including in trade
- Protecting animal welfare