See also Mr Richardson's report on the handling of FMD from his point of view as a vet trying to make sense of the policies on the ground.
ALAN RICHARDSON B.Vet Med., Ph.D., M.R.C.V.S
POPLIN DUB JOHNBY PENRITH CUMBRIA CA11 0UT
Tel. 017684 83984
7, Mansfield Street,
London W1G 9NQ
I would be grateful if you would allow me to put some questions regarding the bill now before Parliament that will greatly enhance the powers of DEFRA in regard to animal disease control.
As I understand it, the bill gives the Minister the powers to kill any animal, anywhere, anytime and for any reason he thinks fit. Yet he need never consult a veterinary surgeon at any stage. If this is so, it will represent the final victory of civil service mandarins in a long war to dispense with the profession completely. Henceforth, clerks and technicians under the direction of administrators will effectively deal with outbreaks of notifiable disease, with academics called in when there are problems. This development, already foreshadowed in the recent swine fever and foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks, has serious implications for the profession and the wider public. It will not improve the lot of animals and their owners; quite the reverse, if the experience of the recent FMD outbreak is anything to go by.
What does the BVA, as the body representing the profession, think of this; and similarly what is the view of the RCVS, as guardian of the public interest?