Scotland is a role model for animal health, say vets

Scotland’s recent successes with animal health initiatives such as TB-free status and an industry consultation to eradicate BVD could provide a template for dealing with similar problems south of the border according to the British Veterinary Association president, Bill Reilly.

Speaking at the organisation’s annual dinner at the Scottish Parliament, Prof Reilly paid tribute to the “fantastic partnership” between the government, industry and the veterinary profession in Scotland. And he called on Scotland’s chief vet Simon Hall to wave a “magic wand” over England, Wales and Northern Ireland to achieve similar results.

Prof Reilly said: “We must also take a partnership approach to new and emerging diseases. The appearance of bovine neonatal pancytopenia – bleeding calf syndrome – in Europe is a worrying development.

“Unproven links have been made with the BVD vaccine and earlier this week Pfizer voluntarily stopped selling Pregsure BVD in all EU member states. But I must reiterate that the links remain unproved and the advice to farmers is to continue using their proven vaccination programmes. The threat of BVD is far greater at this stage and this is not the time to stop vaccinating.”

With the threat of budget cuts hanging over the industry Prof Reilly added the British Veterinary Association’s voice to the recent call by livestock representative bodies in Scotland for government reassurances that it will continue to fund research on animal health at Moredun, SAC and the two veterinary schools in Scotland. And he warned that surveillance work was in danger of being seriously undermined by the UK government agency, Animal Health, which told British Vets last month that all work carried out by official vets would require to be put out to tender. Until now the funding for such work has been ring fenced.

Prof Reilly called on the Scottish Government to understand the ramifications of the Animal Health move on essential surveillance and disease-control work in Scotland.

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