The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has today set out a revised approach for detecting new and re-emerging animal diseases in Wales and England. The new approach builds on the recommendations of the Independent Surveillance Advisory Group, on which Wales was represented.
The new arrangements aim to strengthen the surveillance network by making better use of the expertise and resources of private vets, universities and the livestock industry in tracking animal disease.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Food has been actively involved in the development of these disease surveillance proposals and has worked to ensure that they meet Welsh needs as part of his wider vision to improve the veterinary infrastructure of Wales.
Alun Davies said:
“Those involved in this project have worked hard to establish a new system for detecting animal diseases. I am pleased that through our active engagement we have been able to secure arrangements that will improve our overall veterinary provision and that offer a fair deal for Wales.
“The proposals include some real benefits for Wales, particularly through plans to establish a centre of expertise at the AHVLA facility in Carmarthen. We will also be working with Aberystwyth and Liverpool universities to support their separate plans to improve veterinary services in mid and north Wales. ”
In Wales the changes will see AHVLA’s existing Carmarthen centre being developed as a Wales and England centre of expertise for surveillance in extensive livestock production. The Aberystwyth post mortem examination site will continue to be used to receive carcases for onward transportation to the Carmarthen site until April 2014, but will be reviewed after that.
Plans for alternative diagnostic post mortem examination and laboratory testing services in the Aberystwyth area are also currently being explored by the Welsh Government through discussions with Aberystwyth University and local veterinary practices.
AHVLA have provided the services of a senior vet to work for the Chief Veterinary Officer to support this work and advise on the implementation of the surveillances changes.
The new model for detecting animal disease via surveillance will be rolled out during 2014.