FALLING farm incomes, especially among hill and upland sheep farmers, together with increasing costs, have resulted in a reduced demand by stockmen for veterinary services. Much of the routine work traditionally carried out by veterinarians in sheep flocks has gradually been taken over by the shepherds; this has largely been made possible by the high standard of educational material nowadays available through a variety of sources, and the sterling work carried out by veterinarians under the Agricultural Training Board. An increased emphasis on preventive medicine programmes and the introduction of proven management techniques would be of great benefit to both stock owners and veterinarians and would hopefully bring the two groups closer together. One very important aspect of management that is currently not being used to its full potential is the use of vasectomised rams to produce a compacted lambing period. In the UK, legislation states that vasectomy may only be carried out by a qualified veterinary surgeon.
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