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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 June 2006, 04:13 GMT 05:13 UK
Farmers 'cannot afford vet bills'
Mr Catlow says some farmers are crowding their livestock
The welfare of farm animals is suffering because many farmers cannot afford medical bills, according to one of Britain's most senior vets.

David Catlow says some farmers are trying to treat animals themselves.

Mr Catlow, who takes over as president of the British Veterinary Association later this year, also said farmers were crowding more animals on to their land.

He said most farms were well-run, but some were suffering because they were forced to sell produce too cheaply.

Competition from overseas suppliers combined with the public's desire for cheap food had tightened farmers' financial margins, he said.

This meant many farmers were being forced to cut corners, and had much less money to spend on animal welfare.

He said vets were reporting an increasing number of cases where animal welfare was being compromised.


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