Memorandum submitted by the British Cattle
Veterinary Association (F 24)
1. The British Cattle Veterinary Association
is a specialist division of the British Veterinary Association.
We have some 1,600 members, mostly veterinary surgeons with a
special interest in cattle health and welfare. We are very pleased
to have been invited to provide information for your investigation.
See Annex A.
2. In the light of the recent, rapid growth
in organic beef and dairy production in the UK, the BCVA is keen
to become involved in the development and review of organic livestock
production standards in order to ensure sustainable animal welfare
and disease control.
3. The BCVA is also keen to provide training
for its members in the organic livestock production requirements
to ensure that the BCVA membership is fully informed and therefore
capable of providing services to their clients who choose to convert
to organic production methods.
4. In the past, the BCVA has been involved
in the development of the organic standards by submitting comments
on the interpretation and implementation of the European Livestock
Regulation No 1804/1999 via the Organic Livestock Standards Liaison
Group. See Annex B.
5. The BCVA:
accepts the organic production standards
as having the potential to become a valid and sustainable farm
wants to support the BCVA members
in providing services for farmers who choose to produce under
the organic standards; and
recognises that the organic livestock
production standards have a great potential to enhance both animal
health and welfare at farm level.
6. However, we would like to point out a
few key areas about which we are concerned:
Some aspects of the organic standards
cause disquiet in relation to disease control and animal welfare.
See Annex C.
Public health issues should be of
particular concern on organic farms. In the absence of routine
vaccination and prophylactic use of antibiotics, disease monitoring
must be the cornerstone of its control. This is not implicit in
the standards and should receive more attention. The BCVA has
experience in the creating of strategic herd health plans in association
with comprehensive monitoring programmes. A copy of the BCVA Herd
Health Plan is available on request.
Although there is published evidence
from human medicine that alternative therapy using homeopathy
is beneficial there have been few research studies in the veterinary
field. Further research is necessary to demonstrate any benefits
or otherwise some of the alternative or complementary treatments
recommended by the organic standards and sector bodies. In the
meantime whilst homeopathy does not produce residues at therapeutic
potencies the use of alternative therapies should be guided by
caution with regard to residues and side-effects and all therapies
be assessed on the basis of providing best treatment in order
to avoid suffering.
7. The BCVA wishes to emphasis its willingness
to help its members meet the challenge that the organic livestock
production standards apply to the veterinary care of animals managed
under such systems. The BCVA believes that the veterinary profession
has valuable expertise to offer to organic livestock producers
in terms of skills in preventive veterinary medicine, knowledge
of disease control together with an understanding of animal welfare
Chairman, Organics Group
9 June 2000