http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/business.cfm?id=112893200220-day standstill rule divides vets
VETERINARY opinion is divided on the government’s 20-day
imposed on animal movements in the wake of
While vets do not want a return to the free movement
allowed prior to the
crisis, many are calling for a relaxation of the law,
which is intended to
prevent the spread of disease.
former head of clinical studies and farms director at the
Institute, Edinburgh is a leading critic of the rule.
He said: "We are on
the wrong road with 20 days. It does not fit in well
patterns of sheep farming, with seasonal movements from the
hills and uplands
to the lowlands and the complex pattern of sales
particularly at this time of
year. It also pushes up costs, notably for
multiple examinations by
He said farmers opposed to the rule would obstruct vets and the
, at a time when increased veterinary presence on farms is needed
health and welfare.
"No law is worth the paper it is
written on if it’s un-policeable," he said.
He advocated a more relaxed
approach involving increased training for
farmers, and linking subsidies to
health and welfare. In return the
government should reduce the standstill
time to five days to protect
welfare, prevent "pitching" and allow time for
However former assistant chief veterinary officer Kevin
Taylor backed the
"precautionary principle" behind the current
He said only movement direct to slaughter or to a separate
should be allowed during the standstill period.
opinions of Peter Jinman, the new British Veterinary Association
and one of his predecessors, Professor Karl Linklater, lie
"You cannot look at the 20-day rule in isolation. If you
do that you lose
the whole purpose of what it is about and that is
"It was naive to believe the government
that the tax payer would pay for
another multi-million pound disease crisis.
Nor could the industry afford
it," he said.
And he added it was time
for all those concerned to get round the table to
work out a more acceptable
long term solution with, perhaps, the retention
of a ten-day standstill and
the creation of separation areas for stock as
Linklater took a similar line but said he favoured a standstill
closer to the
current 20 days than five. He said: "The number of days could
be debated but
you can’t argue against the need for some sort of standstill
The emphasis has been on foot-and-mouth but isolation and a
movements would have a beneficial impact in terms of reducing the
other endemic diseases."