Partnership plan gets up and running this week

THIS Thursday will see the first meeting of a short-term working group set up by the Scottish Government to look at a new partnership approach to the management of animal health and welfare in Scotland.

The Expert Forum will be chaired by John Ross, former NFUS president and now of the Moredun Foundation, and it will look at ways to take forward responsibility and cost sharing in animal health.

It will focus on exotic diseases, such as bluetongue and foot and mouth disease, so that Scotland is well positioned to influence the European Commission as it develops its thinking in this area.

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Speaking about the Forum, the Cabinet secretary for rural affairs, Richard Lochhead, said it would help protect Scotland's excellent reputation for the quality and health status of its livestock.

"The Scottish Government supports responsibility and cost sharing in principle, particularly in relation to focussing intervention where most appropriate and working in partnership with the industry," he said.

The other members of the forum are John Cameron, president of Scottish Beef Cattle Association and the Scottish Region of the National Sheep Association, Ronnie Eunson, Crofters Commission, Area Commissioner for Shetland, Orkney and Caithness, Jim McLaren, president of NFU Scotland, and Dr Alistair Stott, reader in animal health economics in Scottish Agricultural College.