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Chief Veterinary Officer's Update
Managing with fewer resources

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Managing with fewer resources and working in partnership with the private sector and others is an overarching theme across government at the moment. Nigel Gibbens, the UK Chief Veterinary Officer, provides an overview of key current government activities in animal health and welfare and discusses how things might change in future

AS I wrote in Veterinary Record in September last year (VR, September 25, 2010, vol 167, pp 468–469), Defra can no longer justify producing the UK Chief Veterinary Officer's annual report. But, giving the profession a strategic overview of what is happening across government is an important responsibility, and I hope to do this more regularly through updates in Veterinary Record.

Another element of the CVO's report that people told us they valued was having key data on animal health and welfare activities in one place. From this year onwards, we will be making the statistics previously produced in the CVO's annual report available on Defra's statistics website, We are still considering the best way of publishing animal welfare inspection results.

Regarding strategy, this article provides a stocktake of some key current activities, as there is a lot going on.

There will be many changes to the way animal health and welfare policy is delivered over the coming months and years and maintaining those things that only government can do, while managing within reduced resources, is crucial. Protecting animal health will best be achieved by ensuring that government activity is coordinated and works with the actions of others, including farmers and other animal keepers, private vets, animal charities and academia. Protecting against and controlling animal diseases remains our priority.

Disease detection and control

We've greatly improved our surveillance and contingency plans over the past decade but, as the continuing threat of diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and African swine …

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