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20 June 2012
TheBritish Veterinary Association has called on Scottish government to make progress with secondary legislation under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006 at its annual dinner, hosted in the Scottish Parliament by John Scott MSP.
At the dinner, attended by parliamentarians, key representatives of animal health and welfare organisations and the agri-food industry, and senior members of the veterinary profession, BVA president Carl Padgett also underlined the need for tangible outcomes on veterinary surveillance, increased resources for the Highlands and Islands Veterinary Services Scheme (HIVSS), and made the case for the compulsory microchipping of dogs.
On secondary legislation under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act, Mr Padgett said:
“Human attitudes to animals have come on leaps and bounds in recent decades, underpinned by the momentous Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
“While BVA supported the introduction of the legislation… we know that its strength lies in its enforcement and in the secondary legislation it enables.
“As a member of the Parliament's Cross Party Group on Animal Welfare we have recently questioned the Cabinet Secretary on the level of progress made on secondary legislation under the Act. Five years since it came into force and we are yet to see proposals from the Government on pet vending, animal sanctuaries, livery yards, riding establishments, boarding kennels, dog breeding and performing animals.”
Mr Padgett specifically highlighted the need for a code of welfare for rabbits – the UK's third most popular pet – and legislation on dog breeding which is being progressed in both Wales and Northern Ireland.
On veterinary surveillance Mr Padgett cited Schmallenberg Virus and bovine neonatal pancytopenia (or bleeding calf syndrome) as reminders of "the vital importance of a robust veterinary surveillance system, and the value of collaboration at the highest level internationally". He said:
"Bleeding calf syndrome was first brought to national attention by veterinary surgeons working with farming clients and local surveillance centres, and it is essential that this link between practitioners and diagnostics is not lost as policy work on the future of surveillance in Scotland is developed.
"This time last year we eagerly awaited the report of the Kinnaird Review into veterinary surveillance. When it came in November we were pleased to see the recognition of the high quality of service provided by the SAC Disease Surveillance Centres, but we were concerned that the report left many questions unanswered.
"Seven months on and many of those questions remain…. We look forward to engaging with the board as it consults with industry and the profession and will be looking for tangible results soon."
"Another area where Scotland is in danger of falling – unhelpfully – out of step with the rest of the UK is the compulsory microchipping of dogs. Unlike the control of dogs where the Scottish government led the way with a more preventive approach, here it is in danger of being left behind. England and Wales are currently consulting on a compulsory system and Northern Ireland is now in its first year of mandatory microchipping.
"At the heart of this policy – which the BVA has long championed – is dog welfare, the ability to reunite lost dogs quickly and safely with their owners, and responsible ownership."
On HIVSS, Mr Padgett pointed to the new contract and guidance that has now been agreed and signed. He said:
"This is good news for the crofters and other farmers, and the vets that serve those areas, and while we are very grateful for the commitment made by Scottish government we would ask that as much resource as possible is made available to ensure the ongoing success of the Scheme.
"For me, the Highlands and Islands Scheme embodies the principles of working together to deliver animal health and welfare and provides a good example to the rest of the UK of how such partnership working can achieve positive outcomes."
The full text of Carl Padgett's speech also includes comment on bovine viral diarrhoea eradication, risk-based TB testing, quality of veterinary research in Scotland, antimicrobial resistance, the Domestic Abuse Veterinary Initiative, the BVA AWF/RSPCA puppy contract and puppy information pack, tail docking of puppies, slaughter without pre-stunning, wild animals in travelling circuses, and the Veterinary Development Council.