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There are many issues currently facing the veterinary sector of government, says Nigel Gibbens, the UK Chief Veterinary Officer. Some of these have been present for a while, but others are new. In his regular update for Veterinary Record, he highlights some that are relevant to the wider veterinary profession
THE government veterinary world presents constant challenges, such as ensuring preparedness for exotic disease outbreaks and continuing the fight against bovine TB, while also adapting to organisational change and other impacts of reducing government funding. At the same time, new challenges appear, such as novel diseases like Schmallenberg, or proposals for EU legislation, like a new EU Animal Health Law, expected in the autumn, or proposals on tackling antimicrobial resistance.
On preparations for exotic disease, I was pleased that, in February, we published a Great Britain and Northern Ireland Contingency Plan for Exotic Notifiable Diseases of Animals (www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/controls/). This sets out how the different administrations of the UK will work together to tackle a major disease outbreak and is essential in the context of increasing autonomy on animal health policies.
In England, we are seeing the Animal Health and Welfare Board getting into its stride and dealing with important issues, such as the future of the livestock standstill rules and arrangements for TB testing. On the latter subject, it was good to see the BVA President, Carl Padgett, join the board's discussions in February and March.
For the rest of this update, I'll say a bit more about a few key issues that I hope colleagues …
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