THE British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) have successfully seen off an attempt by MEPs to restrict the ability of vets to sell veterinary medicines directly to farmers and other animal owners.

Ahead of yesterday’s debate in the Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) committee on the European Parliament resolution regarding antimicrobial resistance, a cross-party amendment was tabled that “Invites the member States to consider restricting veterinarians from, in non-acute cases, selling veterinary medicines directly to farmers and other animal owners, thus reducing the incentive to prescribe more antimicrobials than needed.”

That prompted a co-ordinated lobby by the vets’ organisations to counter the move. They successfully argued that the available evidence shows that restricting vets from selling medicines would not lead to a decrease in the use or sale of antimicrobials. They also pointed out that the ability of vets to prescribe and dispense medicines is already well regulated in the UK.

They warned that herd health planning would be hugely restricted if vets could not dispense such drugs and that livestock health and welfare could be compromised.

They also argued that the viability of practices serving the livestock sector would be put at risk as many, particularly those in remote rural areas, are financially dependent on the sales of such drugs.

Welcoming the decision, Harvey Locke, president of the BVA said: “Restricting the ability of vets to supply medicines would have little benefit but would cause significant harm to animal health and welfare.

“This is another stark wake-up call for members of our profession across the EU and beyond that we must not only take action on antimicrobial resistance, but we must be seen to be taking action,” he added.

Market round-up

LAWRIE and Symington sold 29 prime heifers in Lanark on Monday to a top of 204p and an average of 184.2p (+4p on the week), while 22 prime bullocks peaked at 181p and levelled at 170.2p (+3.6p).

In the rough ring the 90 cows, bulls and OTM cattle sold to a new record average seen at this centre. The 49 beef cows averaged 131p, while 32 dairy cows levelled at 119p.

Over in the sheep ring 2357 prime hoggs met the dearest trade of the season, peaking at £139.50 per head and 300p per kg and levelling at £101.50 and 243.2p (+24.8p).

The 386 cast ewes forward sold to £163.50 for Texels and £83.50 for Blackfaces to average £93.28 overall (-£3.50).

There were also 17 dairy cattle at the fortnightly sale that was topped by two Holstein heifers at £1980 and averaged £1639 (+£237 on the fortnight).

Wallets Marts sold 858 store cattle in Castle Douglas on Monday.

Bullocks peaked at 246.5p/kg and levelled at 184.2p (+8p) or £781.22p/head.