The Scottish government has come under fire for failing to include the equestrian and veterinary industries in a working group looking at responsibility and cost sharing in animal health.
Scotland set up the “expert forum” in July to explore what in England has been dubbed the “horse tax”.
Chaired by John Ross of animal disease association the Moredun Foundation, it includes representatives from the farming, meat and animal health industries.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) described the move as “extremely disappointing” and urged the government to rethink.
BVA Scottish president Professor David Logue said vets in Scotland feel very let down.
“This review needs to consider not just farm stock,” he said. “Obvious examples of potentially devastating diseases include African Horse Sickness.”
British Horse Society Scotland said it is “imperative” the horse sector is represented.
“There is grave concern that equine health issues may be marginalised,” said Helene Mauchlen of BHS Scotland.
The forum met on 8 July, at which a spokesman for the Scottish government said the need to engage with a “breadth of stakeholders” was agreed.
The spokesman added: “The terms of reference for the forum are narrower than those of the Defra advisory group.”
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (2 September, ’10)