29 March 2002

Contractors must train to carry out ultrasound scans

AGRICULTURAL contractors will be legally allowed to pregnancy scan cattle using ultrasound from autumn this year, providing they have undergone an approved training course.

The move reflects government policy to deregulate certain procedures normally carried out by vets, explains Richard Murray, lecturer at Liverpool University Vet School. "DEFRA considers cattle ultrasound pregnancy scanning to be technical and not necessarily requiring an in depth scientific education."

Dr Murray is director of a four-day training course offered by the university to enable agricultural contractors to become approved. The course will cover theory of ultrasound scanning, legal and animal welfare aspects and practical training, ending with a written or oral exam.

"So far, five people have taken the course and all have reached the required standard. After introduction of the new legislation, it will be illegal to scan cattle without approved training," says Dr Murray.

Courses will be offered by Liverpool University Vet School in April, May, June and July and cost £700 (0151-794 6016). &#42