Wales Veterinary Science Centre opens

29 June 2015

Official opening of Wales Veterinary Science Centre; L to R Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor Aberystwyth University, Professor Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Farming and Food  Rebecca Evans AM, and Mr Phil Thomas, Director, Iechyd Da.
Official opening of Wales Veterinary Science Centre; L to R Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor Aberystwyth University, Professor Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans AM, and Mr Phil Thomas, Director, Iechyd Da.

The new Wales Veterinary Science Centre was officially launched by Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans today, 29 June.

Located on the site of the former Animal and Plant Health Agency’s (APHA) Veterinary Investigation Centre, the Wales Veterinary Science Centre has been established by Iechyd Da, a consortium of independent veterinary practices based in Wales together with Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Ltd, and Aberystwyth University.

Rebecca Evans was joined for the launch by Professor Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor Aberystwyth University, and Mr Phil Thomas, Director, Iechyd Da.

Iechyd Da was recently appointed by APHA as a third party provider to deliver expert post-mortem examinations of new and re-emerging diseases of farm animals. The service has been operational since April 2015.

Building on the post-mortem examinations for farm animals, Iechyd Da intend to broaden the range of services offered to include companion animals and wildlife species, as well as to develop a range of laboratory diagnostic services to support disease eradication programmes and to support field practitioners in disease diagnosis.

Deputy Minister Rebecca Evans AM said: “I am pleased to officially open the Wales Veterinary Science Centre, which will significantly strengthen and enhance the important contribution the veterinary profession makes to rural life in Wales and raises standards of animal health and welfare. It will also bolster the rural economy by securing technical jobs for the area, benefit the wider economy by supporting our farming communities, and be an asset to the UK by contributing valuable data to the surveillance network.”

Professor Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales said: “The Centre will have a significant role in the protection of animals in Wales and will provide an important contribution to a successful and resilient farming industry, reflecting the essential role of the veterinary profession in Wales.”

Professor April McMahon, Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said: “We are very proud that Aberystwyth University has worked in partnership with both industry and private practice to help deliver veterinary provision for agriculture in Wales. The University is growing its capability in animal and human health, strongly linked to our leading research and teaching in agriculture and food production. The Wales Veterinary Science Centre is an example of integrated, partnership working in areas vital to the Welsh rural economy. It is also a key step towards our ambition of developing a Vet School for Wales in Aberystwyth.”

Phil Thomas, Director of Iechyd Da said: “The opening of the new Wales Veterinary Science Centre represents an important step for the agricultural sector and everyone involved with animal welfare in mid Wales. It has been estimated that veterinary surveillance, as an investment, pays back to the industry and country 20 fold and today marks the continuation of a service and the revitalisation of a facility that would otherwise be lost to this area.

“Iechyd Da now looks forward to building on the post-mortem provision already available so that we can provide a range of services, from running training courses for animal keepers to dissection classes for students, continuous professional development for practicing vets, and supporting disease eradication schemes. The vision is of a One Health institute that recognises the interlocking, overlapping relationships between people, livestock, the wildlife and the environment around us.”

Richard Irvine, Head of Scanning Surveillance and the Surveillance Intelligence Unit at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) said: “I look forward to APHA working in close partnership with the Wales Veterinary Science Centre to provide expert diagnostic support and surveillance intelligence for veterinary practices and farmers in Wales. Only by working together can we create an effective disease surveillance network, and I urge farmers and vets in Wales to make use of the considerable expertise that exists within the Wales Veterinary Science Centre and APHA.”

Wales Veterinary Science Centre
Iechyd Da, a consortium of independent veterinary practices based in Wales together with Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Ltd., working in collaboration with Aberystwyth University, have been appointed by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) as a third party provider to deliver expert post-mortem examinations (PMEs) of new and re-emerging diseases of farm animals.

This new service is designed to provide support to veterinary businesses in Mid and North Wales, but will also contribute to an enhanced UK-wide scanning surveillance network which includes APHA, the wider veterinary profession and the livestock industry.

Working out of the former Veterinary Investigation Centre in Aberystwyth, the Wales Veterinary Science Centre will initially provide expert PMEs for farm livestock.  However, over time we intend to broaden the range of PMEs offered to include companion animals and wildlife species, as well as to develop a range of laboratory diagnostic services to support disease eradication programmes and to support field practitioners in disease diagnosis for their clients.

The first stage will be to provide a PME service for veterinary surgeons within the Mid Wales region, and then, following consultation with the relevant veterinary practices, to extend this to North Wales using a carcass transport service.

Further information is available online at www.wvsc.wales.

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Arthur Dafis
Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs
Aberystwyth University
01970 621763 / 07841 979452 / aid@aber.ac.uk