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See also the pdf file of the full text of Professor Reilly's speech at the annual Scottish dinner 


BVA RAISES KEY VETERINARY ISSUES AT ANNUAL SCOTTISH DINNER

 

The key role of vets in the partnership approach to animal health and welfare in Scotland formed the theme of the President’s speech at the British Veterinary Association’s annual Scottish dinner.

 

At the dinner, attended by Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP, parliamentarians, key representatives of animal health and welfare organisations and the agri-food industry, and senior members of the veterinary profession, BVA President Professor Bill Reilly outlined the positive links between the veterinary profession, industry, and government in tackling animal disease and securing better welfare.

 

Professor Reilly also challenged the Scottish Government on a number of important issues, including funding of Scotland’s major scientific institutions and the future procurement of OV (Official Veterinarian) services.

 

On funding, Professor Reilly said:

 

“Last month, the leading livestock representative bodies in Scotland wrote an open letter to The Scotsman setting out grave concerns regarding the Government’s misguided view that animal health research does not fit within its wider research funding aims in food and drink policy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and maintaining valued habitats and landscapes.

 

“I would like to add the veterinary profession’s significant voice to the call for reassurances that the Government is committed to funding research on animal health, such as that carried out by the Moredun, Scottish Agricultural College, and the two veterinary schools.”

 

On OV work, Professor Reilly outlined the announcement by Animal Health that the work would be put out to tender, and said:

 

“Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m being too dramatic when I say that the work of vets as the eyes and ears of disease surveillance is in danger of being seriously undermined by Animal Health.

 

“This shock announcement has left the veterinary profession with a number of grave concerns, not least the significant potential for loss of goodwill and a shortage of vets available for OV work.

 

“It may be too early for the Scottish Government to have developed a position on this issue, but I hope, Minister, that you can understand the ramifications of this move for essential surveillance and disease-control work in Scotland, and understand the profession’s concerns.”

 

Professor Reilly highlighted the partnership between the veterinary profession and the Scottish Government in tackling major diseases, including work on the eradication plan for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) and the designation of Scotland as Officially TB free.

 

On bleeding calf syndrome, Professor Reilly urged farmers to continue with their vaccination programmes. He said:

 

“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 unproven 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.”

 

On dangerous dogs, Professor Reilly highlighted the importance of new legislation in Scotland in getting the issue discussed in Westminster. He said:

 

“I have no doubt that the success of the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill was a catalyst in the Labour Government announcing a wide-ranging consultation on dangerous dogs in March.

 

“For many years we were told by politicians of all parties in Westminster that there was no way we would get the issue of dangerous dogs legislation on the table. By leading the debate on this controversial issue, the Scottish Parliament proved that it does not have to be avoided.”

 

Notes to editors

 

1. The full text of the speech is attached and covers other topics, including: Bluetongue, veterinary surveillance review, the availability of vets in farm work, responsibility and cost sharing, dog and cat health and welfare, the hot branding of horses, pet travel and BVA Congress.

 

2. For more information, please contact the BVA media office on 020 7908 6340 or 07503 190 247.

 

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