Home Affairs Committee - Drugs: Breaking the CycleWritten evidence submitted by British Veterinary Association (BVA) (DP104)

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is the national representative body for the veterinary profession in the United Kingdom and has over 12,000 members. Its primary aim is to protect and promote the interests of the veterinary profession in this country, and it therefore takes a keen interest in all issues affecting the veterinary profession, be they animal health, animal welfare, public health, regulatory issues or employment concerns.

We would like to make a number of points in relation to the independence and quality of expert advice which is being given to the Government.

We are aware that following the entry into force of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, there is no longer a statutory requirement for an expert in veterinary medicine to be part of the Government’s Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)

We are pleased that the current composition of the ACMD includes a veterinary scientist and one of our members, Dr Jason Aldiss. However, we are concerned that without a requirement for the group to include a veterinary member, this expertise could be lost in the future.

We believe that the expertise in the veterinary profession on applied pharmacology merits a permanent place on the ACMD. In addition, as veterinary surgeons handle controlled drugs such as ketamine and morphine on a daily basis, it is our view that veterinary representation is essential to ensure that decisions made by Government on the regulation of such drugs consider the needs of the veterinary profession in terms of regular access to these medicines which are so important for the treatment of animals.

I hope that you will find this submission of use to your inquiry. I would be happy to discuss any of the issues raised in more detail if required.

4 April 2012

Prepared 8th December 2012