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Maintaining local practices vital to TB Control, says BVA President

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BOVINE TB, veterinary surveillance and pet travel were among the subjects discussed by Robin Hargreaves, the BVA President, in his speech to the BVA's annual dinner in London last week. Mr Hargreaves also raised the issues of 24-hour emergency cover, compulsory microchipping of dogs, slaughter without stunning and the potential overproduction of veterinary graduates.

The dinner was held at One Great George Street in London on February 25. Similar events are held in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each year, with the aim of bringing matters of interest to the BVA and the veterinary profession to the attention of policymakers and others with an interest in agriculture, animal health and animal welfare.

On bovine TB, Mr Hargreaves considered both the current plans to procure the services of Official Veterinarians via a competitive tendering process and the ongoing fight to control the disease.

FIG 1:

Robin Hargreaves (centre), the BVA President, with Nigel Gibbens (left), the Chief Veterinary Officer, and Lord de Mauley, parliamentary undersecretary of state at Defra, at the BVA's London dinner last week

The BVA was not convinced that tendering was the only available route to procure TB testing services, he said. However, following a recent meeting with Defra, it was clear that both the BVA and the Government wanted the same things – a system that recognised the importance of maintaining local veterinary practices; a system that reinforced the value of the relationship between local vets and their farm clients; and a system that reflected the Government's policy priority of supporting small businesses.

‘What we don't yet know is how those elements will be reflected in the tendering process and we are looking to the Government to do all they can to ensure contracts are awarded on quality, as well as price,’ said Mr Hargreaves.

Regarding the control …

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