The need to adapt to changing circumstances was the key theme of the presidential speech at the British Veterinary Association’s Annual Scottish Dinner hosted at the Scottish Parliament by John Scott MSP.
The need to adapt to changing circumstances was the key theme of the presidential speech at the British Veterinary Association‘s Annual Scottish Dinner hosted at the Scottish Parliament by John Scott MSP.
At the dinner, attended by cabinet secretary Richard Lochhead, parliamentarians, key representatives of animal health and welfare organisations and the agri-food industry, and senior members of the veterinary profession, BVA president Harvey Locke outlined the impact of changes in disease risk, in scientific knowledge and understanding, in consumer attitudes and in the veterinary profession itself.
Mr Locke welcomed initiatives led by the Scottish Government and Scotland’s academic and research institutions, but challenged parliamentarians and industry on issues such as disease preparedness and the future of pet travel.
On the veterinary surveillance review, he said: “I understand that the results will soon be published and, as you’re considering the report, cabinet secretary, I hope these two key messages will resonate: the future of veterinary surveillance must be practitioner-based, and once data is collected it must be put to good use.”
On disease preparedness he agreed with the words of Moredun’s Prof Julie Fitzpatrick, who had said in a recent seminar: “We have the tools and technologies to deal with FMDV if we wish to do so – what is missing are the policies and strategies that we would require.”
Mr Locke said: “We all agree that the protocols and strategies for decision-making need to be put in place in peacetime so let’s get on and do it.”
He also raised concerns about changes to pet travel rules – particularly the removal of tapeworm controls could see the introduction of echinococcus multilocularis to the UK and Ireland.
He said: “Unfortunately, although the science clearly supports the need for the UK and Ireland to maintain the additional controls the decision is in danger of becoming a political football for those groups in Europe concerned with the technicalities of the new legislative regime under the Lisbon Treaty.
“We recognise that, in an ideal world, there would be uniformity of regulations throughout the EU, allowing unhindered movement of citizens and trade. However, when it comes to disease control, surely it is sensible to do what we can to prevent spread of disease between regions and member states rather than waiting until it has spread and then attempting to eliminate it.”
Other topics covered in Mr Locke’s speech include World Veterinary Year, research funding, the bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) eradication programme, the role of Official Veterinarians (OVs), bovine neonatal pancytopaenia, bluetongue, tail docking of dogs, responsibility and cost sharing, wild animals in travelling circuses, country of origin and welfare labelling, the Veterinary Development Council, and the future funding of veterinary education.
- The full text of Harvey Locke’s speech (as scripted) is available to download.