Equine practices, which have laid off staff due to FMD, fear there may be further cutbacks on the way

There’s growing concern among some equine veterinary practices that that they will have to make further cutbacks in staff if hunting and point-to-pointing does not get underway this season.

Spokesman for the British Equine Veterinary Association Congress, John McEwen, said: “There was a general strong feeling at our annual conference in Harrogate last month that equine practices have been affected by foot-and-mouth.

“I talked to a number of the large Gloucestershire practices which have had to cut back on staff.

“There is a growing feeling that if we lose hunting andpoint-to-point this season, there will have to be further cuts in manpower.”

The association is advising vets to “try to continue to offer a good service to maintain the welfare of the horse and to remain in a prime position to go forward when normality returns”.