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Fears over UK vet agency move

by 5m Editor
2 February 2007, at 10:47am

UK - Defra is to go ahead with plans to turn the State Veterinary Service in to an executive agency despite serious concerns from vets and industry leaders.

In an announcement on Monday (Nov 29), DEFRA said the prospect had received broad backing from those that replied to the government consultation on the issue.

But the British Veterinary Association – which represents almost half of the veterinary profession – voiced several concerns about the practicality of such a move.

"Our concerns are for the quality of feedback coming from grassroots to the chief veterinary officer who has to provide the minister with relevant and accurate advice, and it’s important that they don‘t become isolated," said BVA president Bob McCracken.

"It will merely serve to accelerate the detachment of ministers from those on the ground who have to implement policy," he added.

Officially, the SVS will become an executive agency from Apr 1, 2005, when it will receive the necessary additional services allowing it to operate as an executive of DEFRA.

The change to the service will only take effect in Great Britain as there will be no change to the system in Northern Ireland which will remain under DEFRA administration.

Lib-Dem food and rural affairs spokesman Roger Williams was also disappointed by DEFRA‘s decision.

"The announcement confirms just how little this government cares about listening to the experts or carrying out genuine, democratic consultations," said Mr Williams.

Source: fwi.co.uk

5m Editor