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FOLLOWING on from the report of the Surveillance Advisory Group (SAG) in March 2012 (Veterinary Laboratories Agency 2012), the AHVLA has now released a consultation document ‘Surveillance 2014 and beyond’ (AHVLA 2012). In this it proposes drastic changes to the existing system of diagnosing and monitoring diseases, especially in food-producing animals, in England and Wales.
The AHVLA's stated objectives include increasing access to postmortem facilities for livestock owners together with enhanced surveillance and detection of new and re-emerging diseases. To achieve this it proposes closing the majority of the AHVLA laboratories and providing 21 collection centres where livestock owners can deliver carcases. A weekday van service would then collect carcases up to the size of a sheep and deliver them to either a postmortem site without any laboratory facilities, from where samples would be posted for further examination, or to one of perhaps four or five remaining fully staffed AHVLA laboratories. However, the van service would not collect large carcases such as cattle.
The AHVLA believes that private veterinary surgeons, universities and others should be able to carry out postmortem examinations on cattle either on the farm, …
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