Renewed opposition to animal Bill

4 December 2001

Renewed opposition to animal Bill

By Adrienne Francis

THE governments proposed Animal Health Bill has attracted heated opposition on the letters page of The Daily Telegraph.

Alan Richardson of Penrith, Cumbria, condemns plans to introduce powers of slaughter in the event of another foot-and-mouth outbreak.

It would “give mandarins carte blanche to kill any animal, anywhere, anytime and for any reason, without consulting a veterinary surgeon.

“It is as if the government recognises its past wrongdoing and seeks to legalise it retrospectively.”

Mr Richardson says the handling of the recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreak was “a debasement of the veterinary art by the paymaster.”

He adds that the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) received its charter to look after the public interest.

He says that the proposed Bill will not serve the public interest and adds that “another mess is predictable.”

Instead, he argues for vets to be given more control, if a future outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease were to occur.

“Slaughter of infected flocks [should occur], with contiguous culling only where veterinary surgeons on the spot recommend it,” says the writer.

He says that this alternative is the only policy that will command the respect and co-operation of farmers.

Foot-and-mouth is best handled by vets who direct volunteer colleagues from practice, while working to principles of veterinary medicine, he writes.

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