FARMERS have issued a warm welcome to the Government's decision to hire more vets for the State Veterinary Service (SVS) as another move to prevent future crises like last year's foot and mouth disaster.
A shortage of vets in the early stages of that outbreak is widely believed to have contributed to the delays that allowed it to spread like wildfire across the country - yet there had been a freeze on SVS recruitment for several years as part of Government cuts.
Now, DEFRA has given the go ahead for the recruitment, a movement welcomed by the National Farmers' Union.
NFU Animal Health and Welfare Chairman Neil Cutler commented: "The ban on recruitment in recent years has meant that the SVS has been seriously understaffed and was lacking in expertise when it needed it most during the foot and mouth crisis.
"The NFU has long argued that the SVS should be adequately equipped to both maintain animal health services and respond swiftly in an emergency. The NFU is delighted that the Government has now recognised the vital role played by this service."