In the light of avian influenza breakdowns and reports of Schmallenberg virus in the UK, and with the anniversary of the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak approaching, the BVA is reiterating its call for the Government to ensure resources for existing disease control and eradication programmes, and surveillance systems are maintained.
BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey has shown, where there have been changes to postmortem facilities since 2014, a third of vets affected thought their access to facilities had deteriorated and, where there have been laboratory closures, three-quarters of vets had seen carcase submission rates decline.
Alert to the threat
BVA president Gudrun Ravetz said: “Disease is unpredictable, particularly new diseases and novel strains of diseases in our increasingly globalised world. As a country, we need to be alert to the threat posed to our livestock, food chain and agricultural business by disease incursions.
“While we understand the need to update and, in places, consolidate laboratory services, our survey figures show how the closure of laboratories and the cutting of resource to APHA services affect vets’ and farmers’ access to laboratories.”
She continued: “Vets’ frontline roles must be recognised and supported, backed up by an effective, coordinated system of data capture that will enable us to make the necessary links to detect and control new disease threats, protect food safety, and safeguard animal and human health.”
As part of BVA’s principles for negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU, the association is also calling on the Government to ensure the maintenance of reciprocal surveillance data sharing with Europe, and internationally.
- For further details, read “Brexit: the British Veterinary Association’s principles for negotiating the UK’s exit from the European Union“