Prospect concerned at threat to Scotland's disease surveillance capability

Serious concerns at Scotland’s Rural College's plans to change its veterinary services

Prospect is calling on Scotland's Rural College and the Scottish Government to urgently review proposals to close regional post-mortem facilities resulting in the loss of key scientific, research and analytical expertise vital for disease control.

Cow and sheep in farm field

Jane Rose, Prospect negotiator, speaking on behalf of managers and specialists at SRUC, said: “The disease surveillance work undertaken by our members at SRUC is critical to ensure that Scotland is able to react quickly to disease outbreaks, particularly in zoonotic infections such as swine and avian flu that carry a risk to human health.

"Closing regional centres severely compromises that ability, escalates the risk of spread and contamination and adds significantly to our carbon footprint as the distances for transporting potentially contaminated materials will inevitably increase."

The SRUC's proposals are the direct result of the Scottish Government's decision to slash more than £1m from the disease surveillance budget.

Rose added: "The potential loss of more than 30 key posts across the country will have an immediate and significant impact on Scotland’s capacity in animal disease prevention, detection, diagnosis and containment.

"While we will work closely with SRUC to mitigate any potential redundancies, the impact is clearly worrying.

"Prospect is calling on the Scottish Government to urgently review its decision to drastically reduce the funding provided to SRUC. The essential work carried out by our members to safeguard human health and protect our valuable livestock sector must continue,” she concluded.