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THE AHVLA's plans to modernise its relationship with Official Veterinarians (OVs) were referred to by Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State at Defra, in an address to those attending the BVA's Members’ Day held in Cardiff on September 26.
The existing partnership between the AHVLA and OVs had served the livestock industry and wider society well for many years, Mr Paterson said, but there were many reasons for government to seek to continue to improve it. The plan to work with delivery partners to supply veterinary services, notably TB testing, on the basis of a clearly defined, competitively tendered contract, would provide assurance of the quality of service being delivered, and help maximise the effectiveness of the test as a disease control tool. It would also subject the current annual taxpayer-funded cost of nearly £20 million to the competitive marketplace.
Mr Paterson highlighted some of the key roles that vets played in helping the Government deliver its priorities. They did so directly, he said, by providing a service to government, and indirectly, by influencing their clients and the wider public.
He appreciated the BVA's ‘pragmatic stance’ on the pilot badger culls underway in Gloucestershire and Somerset, noting that no one wanted to cull wildlife unnecessarily, but that the experience of other countries with similar wildlife reservoirs of bovine TB could not be ignored. ‘The science shows that culling can help to reduce new incidents of bovine TB,’ he said. ‘We hope the pilots will provide additional evidence on which to base future decisions on how best to proceed.’⇓
He added that the veterinary community had a role to play more widely in tackling bovine TB, and drew attention to its input on the Bovine TB Eradication …
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