Dumfries and Galloway Standard
11 May 2001, p. 9.
VETS could be acting illegally by signing forms condemning healthy animals to death.
The claim comes from Dumfries vet Roger Windsor who, as well as working as a TVI [Temporary Veterinary Inspector] for MAFF in recent weeks, is a member of the disciplinary committee of Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
Mr Windsor said that vets who had visited contiguous premises and found no signs of foot-and-mouth were then signing Form As which effectively say the farm has infected livestock.
He claimed they were being put under pressure from MAFF and SERAD to sign the forms otherwise, they had been warned, the farmer would not receive any compensation for the destruction of his stock.
If these forms are not signed then the government has no power to slaughter, according to Mr Windsor who has worked for the Scottish Agricultural College for eight years.
He added: "If vets know they are signing certificates that are false, then they are guilty of an offence.
"I have spoken to the president of the RCVS, the chairman of the disciplinary committee of the college and both have confirmed that a vet signing a false certificate could be "struck off the register".
Mr Windsor added that the government's chief vet Jim Scudamore had been informed and was discussing it with MAFF lawyers.
He continued: "I phoned Charles Milne (SERAD's top vet) and told him I am sure this is illegal and that until such time as this is resolved, we should stop the cull.
"But he said to me that he was only following government policy and until such time as that was changed he would do nothing."
A spokesperson for the Scottish Executive said powers existed in animal health legislation to cover this but was unable to say which powers. He also said that farmers would receive compensation for every animal slaughtered even if Form As were not signed.
Mr Windsor agreed with the last point and said the government would not dare kill animals and then not give compensation.
He added however: "They are not telling the vets this because otherwise I am sure they would not sign the forms and then the government would have no legal power to slaughter the animals.
"I think the government is now running scared from this issue."