BVA president Bill Reilly has renewed calls on the Government to increase the fees for Official Veterinarians (OVs) – private practice vets who undertake work on behalf of the Government, such as TB testing, vaccinating, and on-farm work in the event of a notifiable disease outbreak.

BVA president Bill Reilly has renewed calls on the Government to increase the fees for Official Veterinarians (OVs) – private practice vets who undertake work on behalf of the Government, such as TB testing, vaccinating, and on-farm work in the event of a notifiable disease outbreak.

Oral vesicle in a cow with foot-and-mouth diseaseProfessor Reilly made the call during his speech at the annual BVA London Dinner, which took place yesterday (Feb 16). The event was attended by DEFRA minister Lord Davies of Oldham, parliamentarians, representatives of the agriculture and food industries and welfare organisations.

Prof Reilly said: “When foot-and-mouth struck, Official Veterinarians were the backbone of the country’s response. We have long argued that they should be paid a professional fee for their work. We were deeply disappointed by the proposal from Animal Health when late last year they suddenly put forward a pay scheme which took no account of the professional service delivered. Can you imagine the response to such an approach to our medical colleagues?

“We understand that budgets are tight across the board, but the Government needs Official Veterinarians and needs to pay them an appropriate professional fee for a professional service.”

Turning to other topics, Prof Reilly took the opportunity to back the Government’s stance on pet travel, thanking the minister for DEFRA’s cooperation on the issue, through which the UK can currently impose stricter measures on the non-commercial movement of pets than the rest of Europe.

BVA president Bill ReillyHe said: “While we respect that the ultimate aim is for all member states to have the same entry requirements, the veterinary profession has raised a number of concerns with DEFRA and MEPs that the science does not yet support the case for harmonisation [with the rest of the EU]. We await the outcome of the discussions in the European Parliament and will continue to push for further research to help us protect the UK from these parasites.”

However, Prof Reilly urged the Government to “think again” on existing legislation to tackle dangerous dogs, claiming: “The problems caused by dangerous dogs will never be solved until dog owners appreciate that they are responsible for the actions of their animals. Rather than singling out individual breeds the BVA strongly believes in targeting individual aggressive dogs.

He added: “Last week this view scored a victory in Scotland when the Control of Dogs Bill passed its first stage in Holyrood. The private member’s bill recognises that all dogs can show aggression and affords councils the powers to place tighter controls on these dogs and their owners.

“With concern about weapon dogs rising and a new Parliament on the horizon looking for fresh ideas, the time is surely right for it to be at the top of the political agenda.”

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