BVA calls for clarity on future regulations in Scotland

The British Veterinarian Association (BVA) expressed “frustration” over Scottish independence and outlined views on non-stun slaughter at its annual Scottish conference.

The BVA said questions over Scottish independence and the future of the veterinary profession have still not been answered by either side of the debate.

Speaking at its annual Scottish conference at Holyrood on 14 May 2014, BVA President Robin Hargreaves said:“As a non-partisan organisation BVA has not taken a position on Scottish independence, but we have tried to provide a forum for informed debate to take place amongst our members and we’ve asked questions of Scottish Government and the RCVS.

“It is clear that there has been a degree of frustration from some members who are looking for clearer answers about the future regulation of our profession in an independent Scotland. We are a small profession, but one that I hope you will agree is vitally important to Scotland’s livestock business and to the health and wellbeing of the nation’s pets.

“We have questions around the impact on veterinary regulation, on funding for Scotland’s network of world-class research institutes and the potential for duplication, on funding for places at Scotland’s two excellent veterinary schools, and on veterinary surveillance.”

The BVA has campaigned that all animals should be stunned before slaughter and labelled as such on packaging. The BVA has also recommended that the government look into new labelling, Hargreaves said. “We know it is a difficult and sensitive political issue but the debate is already shifting towards a very strong call for clearer labelling; a call that politicians cannot afford to ignore.

“We hope these are issues that the new Food Standards Scotland will take up as a matter of urgency. But while no such label exists we are taking the opportunity to inform consumers that QMS, Red Tractor and Freedom Foods all guarantee that animals have been stunned before slaughter.”

Hargreaves also addressed vet surveillance issues and urged the Association to keep on top of early signs of disease in cattle such as bleeding calf syndrome and psoroptic mange, which was found in Scotland. “[The diseases] have all served as timely and stark reminders that we reduce our surveillance capacity at our peril. Robust veterinary surveillance is essential if Scotland is to maintain its worldwide reputation for excellence in food.”

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