Cull vets told be flexible
GOVERNMENT vets have been told that they must be as flexible as possible in implementing the selective cull.
And while tracing cattle for the cull has begun with the 1990/91 cohort year, a MAFF official said the flexible approach will mean that if a farmer wants to delay animals in that year being culled immediately, then the state vets will do their best to accommodate that.
"Equally, if a farmer knows he has cohorts from one of the later years and wants them entered into the cull as quickly as possible, then we will try to help with that, too," the official added.
State vets began visiting the first of the 2500 natal herds – those into which BSE cases, born between Oct 15, 1990, and June 30, 1993, were born – late last week. The cohorts of BSE cases born in that period will be traced and compulsorily slaughtered. Vets will then trace animals in the 1989/90 cohort year where slaughter is voluntary.
Government is encouraging farmers to have their own vet present when a state vet is on the farm to trace cohorts. It believes a private vet could be able to provide help with issues like herd records and past feeding practices (Livestock, p33). But the farmer will have to pay his own vets fees.
The British Veterinary Association is drawing up guidance notes for local vets who might be involved. *