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TB Testing
Tendering for TB testing
  1. Neil M. Howie
  1. Nantwich Veterinary Group, Crewe Road End, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 5SF
  1. e-mail: neilvethowie{at}

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I WAS once told by a Chief Veterinary Officer that if one is in any position of power and nobody tells you ‘you are wrong’ you have to believe you are right, or go mad.

I write, therefore, to fulfil a duty, and to point out just some of the reasons why I believe the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) is wrong to move towards competitive tendering in the awarding of contracts for Official Veterinarian (OV) duties for bovine TB testing.

I accept that employment arrangements for OVs need to be modernised and formalised. However, that must apply to all OV duties, and not selectively to the one duty for which the AHVLA pays the most.

We are told that European law requires competition in the awarding of contracts for government work, but I do not believe Defra has come under any pressure from EU authorities to introduce competition in the employment of OVs. In any case, should we place competition ahead of effective disease management?

The story of bovine TB in the UK is one of tragic failure. For many years the ‘will they, won't they?’ debate about culling …

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