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Animal Health
Exerting political influence
  1. D. F. Kelly
  1. School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE
  1. e-mail: donpatkel{at}

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IN his 2011 Wooldridge Memorial Lecture (VR, December 24/31, 2011, vol 169, pp 671–674) Peter Roeder makes a number of well-informed criticisms: of British governments' disinterest in sustaining British livestock farming and international animal disease control; of the downgrading of informed veterinary advice to politicians; and of failure to ensure continuity of training of veterinarians in ‘tropical animal health’, with the associated lack of UK overseas veterinary capability. Finally, he refers to our collective failures to inform political decision-making to the extent that is appropriate to our professional training and expertise. I applaud Dr Roeder's forthright honesty in his measured comments on our political shortcomings.

The same issue of Veterinary Record includes similar implied criticisms of health risk management relating to the introduction of Echinococcus multilocularis infection in beavers imported into the UK (VR, December 24/31, 2011, vol 169, pp 689–690).

I hope it is not too much to expect that these authors' informed comments can form part of the basis for more effective political influence by CVOs and our two professional organisations.

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