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RCVS approves proposals for Certification Support Officers
CSOs are non-veterinarians who would support the work of Official Veterinarians (OVs) in the signing of export health certificates.
Council members agree to make changes to the RCVS requirements

Government plans for non-vets to support animal product certification have been approved by the RCVS.

Developed by the APHA, the plans involved the creation of a new role of Certification Support Officers (CSOs). These are non-veterinarians who would support the work of Official Veterinarians (OVs) in the signing of export health certificates for products of animal origin.

The plans arose after concerns were raised about the growth of exports in recent years and the potential for a 300 per cent increase in products requiring OV certification once the UK leaves the EU.

Under the proposals, CSOs will work under the direction of veterinary surgeons and support their certification work. Final certification will always need to be signed by OVs, however, and the role will not involve certification relating to live animals or germinal products.

At the RCVS Council meeting on Thursday (1 November), Council members agreed to facilitate APHA’s proposals and to make changes to the RCVS requirements to allow CSOs to support OVs in their certification work.
 
RCVS president Amanda Boag said: “As we have stated in our recent statement on ‘no-deal’ Brexit, it has been estimated that there would be 325 per cent increase in veterinary certification requirements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and with these proposals Defra and APHA are preparing for this by increasing the support available for Official Veterinarians.

“Furthermore the proposal is in line with the concept of a vet-led team, with veterinary surgeons focusing on tasks only vets can do, whilst delegating some tasks to suitably trained and quality-assured members of our teams."
 
She continued: “We appreciate that there were some concerns over the level of education and training required by CSOs and are glad that the APHA has accommodated those views by increasing the level of education to three A-Levels (or equivalent in Scotland) and clarifying the nature of the training required by CSOs.
 
“By signalling its support for the proposals, RCVS Council has been assured that the integrity and value of the veterinary signature will be upheld and we are glad that we can play a key role in helping the veterinary profession prepare the UK for leaving the EU.”

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”