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Resistance, slaughter and pet vending top the agenda

The President of the British Veterinary Association has highlighted the value of veterinary surgeons at the Association’s annual Scottish dinner, hosted in the Scottish Parliament by John Scott MSP.

At the dinner, attended by Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP, parliamentarians, key representatives of animal health and welfare organisations and the agri-food industry, and senior members of the veterinary profession, BVA President Peter Jones called for action on veterinary surveillance, new medicines to tackle the problem of resistance, changes to welfare at slaughter regulations, and action to tackle internet sales of pet animals.

On veterinary surveillance, Peter Jones spoke about the emergence of Schmallenberg and said:

“The emergence of a new disease also underlines the vital importance of a robust veterinary surveillance scheme. Across the UK consideration is being given to the best way to deliver veterinary surveillance in a way that is also cost-effective.

“It is now more than 18 months since the Kinnaird Review reported. While we accept that it’s a hugely important issue that we must get right, all those who undertake veterinary surveillance in Scotland would appreciate some conclusions from the Strategic Management Board very soon.”

On resistance, Mr Jones outlined the vital need for new flukicidal products. He said:

“Last week I was delighted to learn of the breakthrough at Moredun in the development of a recombinant vaccine to protect sheep from parasitic gastroenteritis – a breakthrough that could not have come at a better time as the threat of resistance looms large, notably in grazing animals.

“For certain diseases the situation is critical and we urgently need the development of new medicines. Liver fluke is posing the most serious challenge yet because the recent wet weather conditions provide such an ideal environment for this parasite to thrive. While the availability of flukicidal products is a cause for concern across the UK, it is our members in Scotland and Wales who have sounded the alarm bells most vigorously.

“We are looking to the regulator – the Veterinary Medicines Directorate – to find solutions that could facilitate the fast track for licensing of more flukicides coming through the R&D pipeline, without companies necessarily having to have the full dossier of data available, so provisional authorisation can be granted.”

On welfare at slaughter, Mr Jones reiterated BVA’s call for all animals to be stunned before slaughter. He said:

“We are grateful to Scottish Government for consulting over these sensitive issues and we look forward to working with you to implement a solution that offers the highest levels of animal welfare, whilst respecting the views of certain religious communities.

“In the absence of a complete ban on non-stun slaughter we are calling for measures to reduce the amount of non-stunned slaughter – through labelling and controls to ensure there is not an oversupply of such meat into the secular market – and to reduce the welfare harm to those animals – through immediate post-cut stunning and mandatory veterinary presence.”

On pet vending Mr Jones welcomed the review of the legislation and called on all parts of the UK to work together to tackle the problems associated with the online sale of pet animals. He said:

“We were very pleased to learn that the Government has started talks on pet vending legislation. It’s been a long time coming; the need for reform was highlighted during the consultation on the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act back in 2004. But we’re very pleased that it is back on the agenda now and I’d like to thank the Cross Party Group for its efforts in making sure that happened.

“The explosion of internet shopping has resulted in a culture that says ‘I want this now and I can have it’. But when it comes to our pets, I’m afraid that’s just not acceptable.

“We want to see codes of conduct for these websites enforced across the UK and endorsed by the four administrations. And we also need a huge public awareness campaign with all of us – vets, charities, and government working together to give a consistent message to potential animal owners.”

The full text of Peter Jones’s speech also included comment on: Scotland’s research capabilities; responsible use of antimicrobials and anthelmintics; Schmallenberg virus; bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD); Johne’s disease; aquaculture; horse passport and the horsemeat scandal; health & safety on farms; the Domestic Violence Veterinary Initiative; dog control; microchipping of dogs; the Pet Advertising Advisory Group; and the AWF/RSPCA puppy contract.


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