Former UK Chief Veterinary Officer wins David Black award

Professor Jim Scudamore has been awarded the David Black Award 2021 in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the pig industry over the past 20 years.

The prestigious award was presented by Lord Benyon, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at Defra, at the National Pig Awards held in London on Monday night.

Professor Scudamore held the position of UK Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) from April 1997 until he retired in March 2004.  Prior to this, he was Assistant Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland from 1990–1996. Following his retirement as CVO he became Professor of Livestock and Veterinary Public Health at the University of Liverpool until October 2019. He is currently an Honorary Senior Fellow at the University.

The accolade is awarded to an individual or organisation that has made an outstanding impact on the British pig sector through their work.

Professor Scudamore has been actively involved in the pig sector for many years, experiencing some very challenging times for the industry as Defra’s CVO, where he handled the outbreak of swine fever in 2000 and foot-and-mouth in 2001.

Since his retirement in 2004, he has worked tirelessly for the pig industry in his roles as chairman of both the Pig Health and Welfare Council (PHWC), and the Disease Surveillance subgroup, as well as being a member of the Welfare subgroup.

Under his management, the PHWC delivered, among other things, the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea Virus contingency plans which reflects the concern about potential impacts of the disease should it be introduced into the UK. This was the first industry-led government assisted disease contingency plan for a UK livestock sector and provides a model which can be applied to other pig diseases should the need arise. This was developed under his chairmanship and was delivered by a coordinated industry effort.

The PHWC focuses on four key areas which include disease control and surveillance, promotion of pig welfare, responsible antibiotic usage and pig meat safety which are of great importance to the industry. Prof Scudamore has worked hard to build and develop working partnerships with producers, allied industries, welfare and assurance groups, and other interested stakeholders, along with the wider farming industry for the benefit of the UK pig industry

Since stepping back as chairman of the PHWC he has retained his role as Chairman of the Disease Surveillance subgroup and has continued to support the industry in the development of the government’s Pig Animal Health and Welfare Pathway project.

Angela Christison, AHDB sector director for pork, said Prof Scudamore was ‘an extremely worthy winner having done so much for the industry over so many years’.

“He has an innate skill to find the very crux of any problem and the pragmatic and logical solutions that can be used to fix it. He has always shown consummate skill in ensuring all industry stakeholders feel valued and part of the journey. We should all feel very lucky that he continues to hold the pig industry in such high regard and is still interested, and actively engaged with industry issues,” she said.

“If we were to list all the occasions where Jim has made a positive contribution to the industry, we would be here for a very long time.

“Suffice to say, after 20 years of commitment to the British pig industry, a significant amount of it unsung, but highly regarded, we should feel fortunate to have him so active on our behalf, particularly when most would be enjoying a quiet retirement. In short, it is hard to imagine anyone more deserving of the David Black Award.”

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.