The annual BVA London Dinner took place on 16 February at One Great George Street, London

In his speech to the British Veterinary Association's London dinner, BVA President Professor Bill Reilly renewed calls on the Government to increase the fees for Official Veterinarians (OVs) - private practice vets who undertake work on behalf of the Government, such as TB testing, vaccinating, and on-farm work in the event of a notifiable disease outbreak.

At the dinner, which was attended by Defra Minister Lord Davies of Oldham, parliamentarians, representatives of the agriculture and food industries and welfare organisations, Professor Reilly said:

"When Foot and Mouth struck, Official Veterinarians were the backbone of the country's response.

"We have long argued that they should be paid a professional fee for their work. We were deeply disappointed by the proposal from Animal Health when late last year they suddenly put forward a pay scheme which took no account of the professional service delivered. Can you imagine the response to such an approach to our medical colleagues?

"We understand that budgets are tight across the board, but the Government needs Official Veterinarians and needs to pay them an appropriate professional fee for a professional service."

Professor Reilly used his speech to back the Government's stance on pet travel, but urged them to think again on existing legislation to tackle dangerous dogs. Thanking the Minister for Defra's cooperation on pet travel, Professor Reilly said:

"The UK currently imposes stricter measures on the non-commercial movement of pets than the rest of Europe. This derogation from full harmonisation with the rest of the EU, primarily to prevent rabies, also protects us from ticks and tapeworms, which are potentially dangerous to both animals and humans.

"Whilst we respect that the ultimate aim is for all Member States to have the same entry requirements, the veterinary profession has raised a number of concerns with Defra and MEPs that the science does not yet support the case for harmonisation. We await the outcome of the discussions in the European Parliament and will continue to push for further research to help us protect the UK from these parasites."

On dangerous dogs, Professor Reilly said:

"The problems caused by dangerous dogs will never be solved until dog owners appreciate that they are responsible for the actions of their animals. Rather than singling out individual breeds the BVA strongly believes in targeting individual aggressive dogs.

"Last week this view scored a victory in Scotland when the Control of Dogs Bill passed its first stage in Holyrood. The private member's bill recognises that all dogs can show aggression and affords councils the powers to place tighter controls on these dogs and their owners.

"With concern about weapon dogs rising and a new Parliament on the horizon looking for fresh ideas, the time is surely right for it to be at the top of the political agenda."


1. Read Bill Reilly's full speech and the Minister Lord Davies of Oldham's response

British Veterinary Association

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