UK can learn from Scots’ approach to welfare

OTHER COUNTRIES in the UK can learn from Scotland’s partnership-based approach to animal health and welfare, and food safety, according to Bob McCracken, president of the British Veterinary Association.

Speaking at the BVA’s Scottish dinner in Edinburgh, Dr McCracken said: “In terms of animal health and welfare and food safety, Scotland has clearly demonstrated its considerable leadership skills.”

His praise centred on the recent introduction in Scotland of Land Management Contracts – the equivalent of the entry level scheme in England.

As part of the menu scheme in tier two of LMCs farmers have the unique option to assess animal health and welfare and take steps to remedy any problems identified, Dr McCracken said.

“Sustainable farming and profitability in the future will be dependent on production, and any disease problem that interferes with this must be addressed.

“Profitable farms will ensure a better future for rural veterinary practices and for the welfare of our animals,” he added.

In another part of tier two of the LMCs, the Scottish Executive has launched the Scottish Animal Health and Welfare Management Programme, which could see all livestock holdings visited annually by the vet to draw up a farm health plan.

“The Scottish Executive will pay for part of this service, as well as aiding disease identification measures and participation in health initiatives over a five-year period.

“It is to the credit of your minister, chief veterinary officer and their team that such a novel and innovative approach has been adopted,” said Dr McCracken.

“And it is to their credit that a vision has become a reality and that the EU Commission has been persuaded to approve the programmes.

“I am well aware that such persuasion required drive, determination and enthusiasm,” he said, adding that Scotland’s rural development minister, Ross Finnie, clearly had such talents.

“The rest of the UK can learn from Scotland’s initiative and of the partnership approach that exists, involving government, the farming profession and the veterinary profession,” he said.