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Chief Veterinary Officer's Update
From bovine TB to changes to the pet travel rules

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Delivering public services with reduced means continues to present a challenge to Defra says Nigel Gibbens, the UK Chief Veterinary Officer, who gives an update on developments concerning, among other things, control of bovine tuberculosis, procurement of services by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency and the forthcoming harmonisation of pet travel rules across the EU.

THE BVA Congress takes place in London from September 22 to 24 and I am very much looking forward to the discussion and debate in and between the sessions. There is plenty to consider at home, but with the majority of legislation affecting vets and animal keepers arising from Europe, I and the other CVOs will be sharing thoughts on the theme of EU business in our Saturday morning slot.

Broadly, the big challenge still facing Defra is how to continue delivering excellent public services with reduced means. On the ground, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has been in place almost six months now and operational changes are taking effect.

Perhaps the two most high-profile issues in government animal health and welfare policy over the past six months are: proposals for a science-led badger cull to control bovine TB; and changes to pet travel rules making it easier and cheaper to take pets abroad.

Badger culling

September 20 marked the end of a nine-week consultation on the detail of the Government's proposals to license groups of farmers and landowners to carry out science-led, strictly controlled culls of badgers in the high TB incidence areas of England.

There are clearly very strong feelings on both sides of the debate. But the evidence shows that culling, in accordance with strict licence criteria, can make a difference at a local level. We would expect culling, conducted in line with the criteria, to reduce TB in …

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