A new initiative involving 50 vets from across south-west Scotland and Cumbria has been formed to help improve farm animal health and welfare.

The first vet association of its type in Scotland, Solway Vets is made up of practitioners from seven vet practices, who have teamed up to pool expertise and services.

Jimmy More, of the Galloway Veterinary Group in Kirkcudbright, said: “As the livestock industry is changing, we need to optimise levels of service to our clients and we want to emphasise our proactive rather than reactive role.

“By sharing our resources and knowledge we can offer our clients the best possible service, drawing on specialist professional and geographical experience from members across our association.”

A key aim of the group is to allow farmers to measure performance and benchmark against each other. This will be done via large laminated charts, supported by Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health, given to farmers to monitor specific performance data.

In addition, the group plans to work in collaboration with the Scottish Agricultural College and NFU Scotland, and there are plans to work closely with Scottish universities and offer final-year students on-farm experience.

Vet practices involved in the group include Academy Vets in Stranraer, Andrew Miller and Partners in Lockerbie, the Priory Veterinary Centre in Whithorn, the Stewartry Veterinary Centre in Castle Douglas, the Galloway Vet Group in Kirkcudbright, Nithsdale Veterinary Surgeons in Thornhill, and Belle Vue Vets in Wigton, Cumbria.