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Minutes of a General Meeting of the Society held on Thursday 20th January 2005 at BVA Headquarters, 7 Mansfield Street, London, W1G 9NQ.

Present:  the President Mr. B. Hoskin and 15 Fellows and guests.

Apologies for absence had been received from 18 Fellows.

Minutes of the meeting held on 29th November 2004 had been circulated and were approved.

Matters arising:  none.

Correspondence:  none

Any Other Business:  Mr. H. Robinson raised the matter of the provision for legitimising homoeopathic 'remedies' within the new Veterinary Medicines Regulations, and expressed concern about anything being licensed under the regulations without efficacy being demonstrated.  Several other Fellows supported his concerns.  Dr. Kerr pointed out that if there was any question at all of these preparations having a physiological effect, then the homoeopaths' own reports of serious adverse reactions (or 'aggravations') had to be considered, and the absence of any safety testing was therefore also a matter for concern.  It was resolved to include the matter on the agenda of the next meeting of CVS Council (see below).

Prof. J. Bleby drew the attention of the meeting to the timing of the next meeting of BVA Council, which is called for the Wednesday following the Easter weekend.  It was resolved to hold the next meeting of CVS Council on the previous evening, Tuesday 29th March, in order to allow for holiday dates and still accommodate discussion of the BVA agenda.

Attention was also drawn to forthcoming meetings of the Comparative Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine.  These are on Cosmetic Surgery in Man and Animals (February), Comparative Clinical Science (16th March) and Multifactorial Diseases.

The President then welcomed the speaker, Dr. Bob McCracken, President of the BVA, to his own abode.  Dr McCracken described his many years of experience as a pathologist and as CVO of Northern Ireland, including involvement with outbreaks of Newcastle Disease and FMD.  He contrasted his own close involvement with the FMD crisis with the situation in Great Britain, and noted the great difficulty of speaking out with a veterinary voice against the politicians if the same person is both CVO and Director General in Administration.

He spoke at length of the changes within the BVA, and the need to deal more effectively with consultation matters.  At present the BVA is reactive, responding to proposals initiated by others - DEFRA speaks, BVA responds.  Instead the great need is for the BVA to take a leading rôle in crucial initiatives, and to prioritise its finite resources so that the important matters are properly dealt with.  There should be more response to the needs of members, more involvement of the Divisions, and alliances formed with the RCVS, the NFU and the FVE.

He then moved on to discuss the northward spread of bovine tuberculosis, and the limitations of movement restrictions and pre-movement testing.  It was important to understand the limitations of the tests, to test the whole herd, and to isolate north-transported cattle from the badger population.  The meeting ended with some discussion of the new Veterinary Medicines Regulations.

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