re: your front page, 'We need migrant vets' – why?

Do we not train enough vets in Scotland? My answer, yes we do, but foreign vets are cheaper to hire, and the licenced practices in Scotland are held by old vets that are reluctant to move on, the same as old farmers, so that there is an imbalance – young horses with the bit between their teeth, while the old are holding the reins and the cheque book?

While on the subject of vets, are vets getting too expensive? Are they a luxury to the farming and crofting world?

In my period I have seen stockmanship decisions eroded in preference to vets decisions, when needles and bottles come to the fore, but the reality is death, and a hefty bill.

Why are we seeing local slaughterhouses disappearing? Simple, the cost of having a vet as a meat inspector is too much for a family run business.

So in essence we are seeing livestock numbers drop, stockmen/women getting older, vets getting older and greedy.

So what is the future?

May I suggest that any person, after graduation as a vet, who thinks that he/she can make it, should be allowed to set up a business on their own, and if there is Government subsidies available, they should get a cut.

In my younger days we had an Irish vet – he only had two ailments that cattle and sheep could have, ragwort and liver fluke. His prognosis was simple, not expensive – waste no time, shoot it!

But he did warn, when continental breeds started to displace the Highland/Shorthorn cattle breeds, you will have problems.

How true – needles and bottles!!

Angus A Macdonald,