Official Vet: news and briefings - Veterinary Practice
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Official Vet: news and briefings

New bovine TB partnership launched

The government’s newly formed bovine TB partnership held its inaugural meeting on 11 February, attended by biosecurity minister Lord Gardiner.

As part of the government’s response to Professor Sir Charles Godfray’s review of the government’s bTB Strategy, the government has worked with industry and stakeholders to co-design the new bTB partnership to encourage shared ownership, coordination and decision making surrounding England’s 25-year bTB eradication strategy.

The group will be a driving force helping to progress the government’s aim of eradicating the disease and absorbs the advisory function formerly performed by the bTB Eradication Advisory Group for England (TBEAG).

The partnership is made up of members who have extensive experience and expertise in the farming industry, veterinary science, conservation and academia. A work plan will be devised by the partnership to establish the priorities for the coming year.

The partnership will:

  • Contribute to setting strategic direction of the bTB disease eradication programme, helping to identify priorities and address specific opportunities, risks and issues, as an integral part of the bTB programme’s governance
  • Help set standards, monitor progress and identify where new approaches might be needed
  • Co-design potential new policies and communications
  • Help to identify new evidence sources/requirements and ideas and capture wider views to inform discussion as needed
  • Engage widely to advocate agreed bTB policy to a range of stakeholders
  • Encourage formation of and work closely with local groups and create opportunities for stakeholders/local groups to work together
  • Engage with developments in wider domestic agriculture policy, helping to build understanding of the potential implications for future disease control and helping to influence the design of future policy to benefit the goals of the bTB strategy
  • Provide expert advice to government on policy matters and implementation

OV briefings

Notification of an extension to the revalidation deadline for export OCQ(V)s

20 JANUARY 2021

Following the agreement that sets out the rules that apply between the EU and the UK as of 1 January 2021, there is now more certainty on the requirements for veterinary export health certification to EU countries. Discussions to finalise the detailed requirements of these are ongoing and the OCQ(V) course content will be updated at the earliest opportunity.

In the meantime, APHA has applied an extension to the revalidation deadline of any export course (AX, SX, CA, GX, PX, EQ, UX, EX) that was due to expire before 31 August 2021. All these courses will now have a revalidation deadline of 31 August 2021. OVs do not need to request this extension – it will be applied automatically. The extension means that OVs may choose to wait until the updated courses are available before completing their revalidation. However, once OVs have enrolled on and/or completed a course, they continue to have access to it. Therefore, OVs who choose to revalidate before new information is available can return to view the updated content at any time.

APHA will notify all relevant OVs when the updates for each export course are available. New information will continue to be disseminated via the Notes for Guidance (NFGs), APHA OV Briefing Notes, OV instructions and which OVs will need to refer to.

Validating laboratory test reports used for certifying movement of animals

12 FEBRUARY 2021

APHA has seen an increasing number of forged test reports. Most have been identified through checks instigated by the competent authorities in the countries to which animals have travelled. The forged reports have been seen across a range of tests but appear to be a particular problem in rabies serology results.

The RCVS Code of Professional Conduct states that veterinary surgeons must use reasonable diligence in detecting falsity when undertaking certification. Official Veterinarians will be aware of their responsibility to scrutinise laboratory test result reports when certifying animals to travel outside the UK, and need to be aware of the risk of forgeries of such reports.

Recent examples of forged reports have included simple date changes and amended results, through to fictitious testing of the animal in question. On close inspection of the reports there are usually fairly clear clues that the report may be a forgery.

OVs need to be particularly careful about result reports presented by owners rather than sent direct to their practice from the laboratory. We would ask that OVs request a validation check on all such reports when used in support of export certification.

Further information, including how to request a validity check for an APHA or Biobest laboratory test, can be found in the full briefing note.

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