Consultation on local veterinary inspectors review
1. We note the increasing shortage of vets with interest or experience with farm animal practice and husbandry and training in animal behaviour, environmental matters and meat (i.e. post-mortem) pathology. The trend to practice not involving animals exploited for food, industrial products, "sport" and research is understandable in terms of human and professional welfare but diminished in the purview of the well-being of livestock of all species (including human) and the environment. Some liaison with the relevant workings of the Home Office is required.
2. LVIs are increasingly seeing opportunities in farm management and plans for productivity and health, in which animal welfare may – and must – be understood. Entry and inspection of farms is essential by vets, preferably independent (e.g. as members of the SVS or appointed with supervisory powers by retailing and marketing organisations). Involved LVIs must be as committed as the farmers they work for in prosecutions resulting from infringements of regulations and good practice in animal welfare. The LVI’s responsibility must not be undermined by approvals, say for the use or non-use of drugs or by other vets employed by pharmaceutical companies or lay agencies.
3. Supervision at markets, collection centres, dealerships, slaughterhouses and knackers’ yards must be the responsibility of the SVS, in order to avoid conflicts of interest and local pressures embarrassing LVIs undertaking such duties.
Dr. Alan Long