re BVA submission

Extracts from Veterinary Record April 6th "Animal Health Bill blocked by Lords".

'In its submisssion, the Association (BVA) noted that the ability to act swiftly and decisively to prevent the spread of infectious disease was "imperative". It also commented that, during last year's FMD outbreak, "legal challenges to powers of entry and slaughter delayed and prevented such action being taken and hindered efforts to control the spread of the disease" In this respect, the Association said, the Bill provided "welcome clarification of the powers which should prevent such delays in the handling of any future FMD outbreak".

'Discussing factors that might be taken into account in deciding whether or not animals should be slaughtered, it described the criteria proposed by the Government as "highly subjective". The Government had argued that the wider slaughter powers would only be used when fully justified on veterinary, scientific and epidemiological grounds. However, the BVA pointed out, there might be situations where "the field veterinarian's view of what is fully justified may differ significantly from that of the epidemiologist and neither may agree with the statistical modeller", and these views would have to be reconciled. Meanwhile, it drew attention to concerns that the proposed measures, particularly those relating to the wider culling powers, might cause professional difficulties for veterinary surgeons where their professional responsibility for the animals under their care might be in conflict with the requirements of the law.

'The BVA also commented on... the role of divisional veterinary managers in the appeals process...It said that ideally, the review should be conducted independently. However, a reasonable balance had to be struck between fariness and the need for a quick decision, and "a review by the DVM or his or her seniors (preferably from another division) should be acceptable, provided that they have played no part in the original decision".