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BVA President welcomes new Veterinary Science Centre and surveillance innovation in Wales

BVA | British Veterinary Association

3 min read Partner content

John Blackwell, President of the BVA, today welcomed the new Veterinary Science Centre and innovations in disease surveillance in Wales. However, he also warned that local vets need to remain at the heart of official veterinarian services such as TB testing.

Speaking at Cardiff’s City Hall on Tuesday 16 June, at the BVA’s annual Welsh dinner, the BVA President praised the introduction of gamma testing for bovine TB at Carmarthen saying that it “takes to sixth gear the early identification and control of a disease that has blighted livestock in Wales, England and Northern Ireland.”  But he also expressed disappointment that innovative programmes such as Cymorth TB, which provides additional veterinary support for farmers hit by a disease breakdown, are currently in abeyance. He urged “the Welsh Government to reinstate and expand the programme as soon as possible, including the training of vets new to the programme.”

Highlighting the essential role vets play in promoting animal welfare, Mr Blackwell also recognised successes and progress in Wales on a number of key issues. On horse welfare and fly-grazing, he said:

“The Welsh Government has led the way here with the Control of Horses Act introduced in 2014 now being followed in England by a similar Act that came into force in May. We very much hope that this aids partnership and cooperation at local authority level along the border.”

Mr Blackwell also warmly welcomed the Welsh Government’s introduction of the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) Regulations, commenting:

“We very much hope that these regulations will raise the standard of breeding establishments in Wales and be a positive step towards a future in which Wales throws off its unenviable reputation for puppy farming. But as we all know, the test of any regulation is not the words on the paper but in the enforcement and effectiveness of the regulations in action.”

Mr Blackwell also spoke about:

The importance for animal welfare in Wales of the Animal Health and Welfare Group
BVA and BVA Welsh Branch support for the recently announced Rural Development Plan and Strategic Framework for Welsh Agriculture
The critical role of vets in safeguarding human and animal health, particularly in relation to the responsible use of antibiotics
The introduction of compulsory microchipping of dogs in Wales in Spring 2016 and vets’ work in raising awareness with clients
The positive progress being made with regard to Vet Futures, and the BVA/RCVS  roadshow in Swansea on Wednesday 17 June 2015
The continued commitment of BVA and BVA Welsh Branch to end non-stun slaughter in the UK alongside continued dialogue with relevant religious communities
BVA’s new Animal Welfare Strategy, currently being drafted

Mr Blackwell also thanked the BVA Welsh Branch officers and welcomed the new Welsh Branch President, Neil Paton:

“Rob Davies, BVA Welsh Branch President for the last year, has been a tireless and principled campaigner in his promotion of animal welfare on a number of fronts and we thank him for this. I am delighted to welcome Neil Paton as our new Welsh Branch President and know that Rob is passing the baton to very safe hands indeed. “

Neil Paton, BVA Welsh Branch President, thanked Mr Blackwell for his support:

We are proud of the progress we have made in Wales, and I look forward to working with Rob and Sarah Carr, our new Junior Vice President, as well as the BVA team to achieve as much as we can for the veterinary profession and animal welfare in Wales. We want to build on the good relationships we have with the Welsh Government to ensure this country maintains the highest standards of welfare for all animals whether they are livestock, pets or wildlife. ”

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