MANY industries in the UK have begun to develop quality assurance programmes. Farm assurance schemes provide assurances to the consumer on food safety, animal welfare and environmental issues. The veterinary profession has a vital role to play, both in the development of standards for these schemes and in their implementation. Veterinary practitioners are in an ideal position to provide advice to clients on compliance with legislation and scheme standards and veterinary involvement in written health and welfare programmes presents an opportunity for farmers and veterinary surgeons to clearly demonstrate proactive management of disease issues. Provided that veterinary surgeons can deliver cost-effective advice, these programmes should also improve production and welfare. In this article, David Main and Vince Cartledge describe how such schemes operate.
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