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Following a recommendation in the Lowe report on veterinary expertise in food animal production (VR, August 15, 2009, vol 165, pp 185, 186–188), the BVA has established a Veterinary Development Council to explore how vets might engage more fully with the food supply chain. Richard Bennett, the VDC's chairman, explains its remit and the key issues it is exploring
WHEN I was invited by the BVA to chair its new Veterinary Development Council (VDC) I was happy to accept. This was largely because I have had an interest in the economics of animal health and welfare over the past 25 years, and have enjoyed working with a variety of veterinary scientists. I have also had an interest in animal health and welfare policy, having been a member of the England Implementation Group overseeing implementation of the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, a member of various responsibility and cost sharing groups for animal health, and a long-standing member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council (now the Farm Animal Welfare Committee).
During this time, I have become aware not only of the vast expertise and varied roles of the veterinary profession in society, but also the equally vast and varied expectations that stakeholders have of veterinarians, ranging from their roles in relation to food safety and the protection of human health from zoonoses to protection of animal welfare, while always mindful of the economic and other needs of their customers. I do not underestimate the challenge of trying to ensure a balance between the supply and demand aspects of food animal veterinary services in an increasingly uncertain future world.
The VDC held its first meeting in January 2011, attended by over 50 stakeholders from along the food supply chain. At that meeting, the proposed terms of reference of the VDC were …