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Cyprus

Vet services promises to do better after report highlights shortcomings

The veterinary services on Thursday said they would take into serious consideration the Audit Office’s report pointing out shortcomings it detected in their operation and their suggestions.

In a written statement the vet services said the report would be a useful tool in efforts to improve the way they operate and their services.

The report, found among other things, that sheep and goats registered in the government-controlled areas as dead, were found alive in the north and that goats under 12 months old taken to the abattoir for slaughter had on them ID tags belonging to animals over eight years old.

According to the latest Audit Office report, the Episkopi police station had informed the Limassol district vet services office some four years ago that 43 sheep and goats were located in the north bearing numbers registered in the government-controlled areas. It emerged that 31 of these animals had in fact been registered as dead in the goat and sheep recognition system.

These animals concerned five different farms from which the vet services had asked explanations as well as from the company hired by the state to dispose of dead animals.

The company failed to provide the necessary information for those animals with the Audit Office expressing concerns that employees of that company may have been involved in the case by possibly striking off living animals from the records as dead. The report also expressed concerns over the ability of the vet services to monitor and prevent possible discrepancies by the company in question.

The case had been reported to the police and is still pending in court.

The report also referred to a letter by a vet services official who was posted at an abattoir to the deputy head of the vert services in 2018 saying that he found on goats under 12 months old brought in for slaughter, IDs belonging to animals over eight years old.

The official pointed out that most probably they were transferred from one animal to another for financial gain, arguing that this was proof that the existing identification system for animals might not be foolproof since farmers can falsify animal data.

An ensuing probe discovered that employees of the farm owner had placed the wrong IDs on young animals by mistake.

The Audit Office recommended that the vet services ensure that these ID tags cannot be transferred from one animal to another.

The report also found weaknesses and omissions in the implementation of the bluetongue vaccination scheme, in contracts for services for the collection, transportation, processing and disposal of animal by-products as well as in the process of calculating slaughter charges and overtime.

The vet services said on Thursday that the Audit Office report serves the objectives of the Veterinary Services since highlighting specific problems will help solve them.

 

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Source: Cyprus News Agency