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Vets outraged at dog ban

Under a new edict government vets, responsible for the protection of millions of farm animals, will no longer be free to take their dogs with them on visits.

Animal Health, the agency responsible for the state veterinary service, has banned vets and other staff from taking their dogs in cars on visits to farms or other premises when on official business. It is also to extend the ruling to another 2,000 private vets who carry out work under contract to DEFRA.

The astonishing diktat was introduced after ONE member of the public complained about a dog locked inside an employee’s car at a vet agency car park on a hot day. Incredibly, even though the employee was not a vet or anyone trained for animal health work, agency management were concerned that the practice of allowing dogs on duty risked the possibility of a prosecution and also compromised bio-security on farms.

Vets across the country are outraged by the new working conditions rules, which took effect three weeks ago. Many vets working in rural Britain take their dogs with them in the car on their rounds.

Iain Richards, junior vice-president of the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons, and a vet for 20 years in Kendal, Cumbria, said that the ruling was ‘extraordinary’.

Prospect, the white-collar union that represents state vets and animal health employees, is urging the agency to think again.

An Animal Health spokesman confirmed that staff could no longer take dogs in their cars on ‘official business’. He said that the change had been introduced after ‘the public’ and staff raised concerns about the welfare or pets being left in cars.

David Catlow, president of the British Veterinary Association, backs the move. He accepted that the decision would not be popular with all vets but said: ‘There is a bio-security issue and the vet does not want to be blamed for bringing disease to a farm.’

The Countryside Alliance also condemned the move.