The United Kingdom Horse Shoers Union

The voice of the farrier.

UK farriers hear from the UKHSU

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UKHSU response to circular from Simon Curtis 29/10/06

Every farrier should have received a letter from UKHSU in September about the proposed inclusion of farriery into the new Veterinary Services Act. We took the step of writing to every farrier in the UK because we felt that the issue was very important and was not being handled properly or openly. Many farriers telephoned or wrote to us in response.

We note the response from Simon Curtis dated 18th September 2006. We consider that it was inaccurate and misleading as we explain below:

The statement that “I would not normally respond to articles by the UKHSU” is derogatory. The reference to its inaccuracy we believe to be untrue, as is the statement that Mr Bakers letter grossly misrepresents Councils position on the subject. It is a fact that Council has not debated it and does not have a position on the subject, all that Council has done is nominate Mr Hargreaves to a working group, and refuse Mr Bakers request to be on the working group.

The statement that it is likely to be some years before Government time is available is in contradiction to the article in the bulletin referred to which states “it was always possible that a cancellation of other parliamentary business might bring the Act forward, and we should be ready for this possibility”. It is at variance with the information given at a meeting in January, at which farriers were represented by the UKHSU, when we were told that the Act might be introduced as soon as November 2006.

We object to the article referred to in the farriers bulletin being represented as being from Mr Hargreaves whereas in fact he did not write it, we understand that it was written for him by Miles Williamson-Noble.

The letter falls short of confirming that farriers will have the final say, indeed the implication is that other parties could well overrule the wishes of farriers.

The statement that UKHSU is not included “as it was felt that it no more spoke for farriers than did many other informal groups” is laughable. It is well known that the UKHSU was excluded because of hostility from Miles Williamson-Noble and from a few others. UKHSU is not an informal group, it is the only independent and democratic national farriers organisation in this country and the credibility of the working group is seriously diminished by the fact that UKHSU is not included.

The statement that discussions are not sufficiently well defined to be put out to farriers for consultation is patronising to farriers. The assurance that the Chairman will ensure that farriers continue to be informed as the position develops gives us no confidence.

The suggestion that once the advantages etc have been properly identified farriers and other parties with an interest in farriery will be fully consulted falls far short of what is required. The UKHSU from the start have demanded a refendum of farriers before any decision is taken yet no mention is made of a referendum. We do not believe that farriers are likely to be consulted until a decision has already been made behind closed doors and any consultation is likely to be a sham.

The statement that “Mr Bakers accusation that Sefton House is pushing for the scrapping of the Act is completely without foundation” is a matter of opinion and not something which Mr Curtis can say with any certainty. The whole issue of farriery coming into the Veterinary Services Act was initiated by Miles Williamson-Noble as the RCVS initially had no thoughts of involving farriers. We feel that Mr Williamson-Noble has been pushing this forwards and that Mr Curtis and others are being duped. Mr Williamson-Noble has far too much influence in farriery in general and in this subject in particular.

We have written to every farrier in the country about this issue and have had many responses, and many more following the Chairmans letter, and we know how farriers are feeling and they are not happy with the way this matter is being pursued. We feel that we have made a positive contribution to the debate on the Veterinary Services Act and have raised awareness and interest amongst farriers.

UKHSU Farriers News Letter September 2006

Response from Simon Curtis 18th September 2006