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VETS have an important role to play in the Government's ‘Big Society’ according to Jim Paice, the minister of state for agriculture and food, who gave the opening address at this year's BVA Congress.
The Big Society seeks to give people and communities more responsibility for their own actions rather than relying on the state. Mr Paice commented that the establishment of the new Animal Health and Welfare Board for England was a clear example of the Big Society in action, as it brought grass roots experts right into the centre of policy making. It represented a clear shift from previous ‘top-down’ government approaches. The board was a new model within government and was the first of its kind, he said. It would make direct recommendations to ministers on policy and the oversight of its delivery as it affects the health and welfare of all kept animals.
‘My ambition for the board is that it should devise what our disease control policy should be and how it is best delivered. The result I want is that animal keepers across the spectrum actually feel that it's a policy that they own – it's their policy, not one being done or given to them.’
He added: ‘By doing this, we are really giving the industry and stakeholders that real influence over how our animal …