A rumoured “downgrade” threat concerning the role of vets in food safety and animal health and welfare has triggered a sharp reaction from the British Veterinary Association (BVA).
Responding to a newspaper report that the Cabinet Office-led Red Tape Challenge has been advised to make cuts to health inspections on farms, with “non-vets” being used to carry out bovine TB testing, BVA president, John Blackwell (pictured), has urged Defra to think long and hard before considering such a move.
“BVA understands the pressures on public spending and the need for efficiencies and the appropriate lessening of the regulatory burden on business, including the agriculture sector,” he said. “However, we cannot overstate the importance of any cuts or changes being carefully considered from a fully informed perspective and with an eye to long term-consequences, not simply short-term expediency.”
He also warned that such cuts must not be made at the expense of animal welfare and health, which, if compromised, could have serious consequences for human health and food production.