A SPECIALIST veterinary centre which carries out post-mortems on farm animals to aid “disease surveillance” is set to close.

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) facility at Auchincruive is set to close its doors next Spring with the nearest facility in Dumfries to remain open.

The move forms part of a proposed model on identifying and tackling disease in farm animals, with SRUC looking to reduce the number of post-mortem examinations required.

A new veterinary hub has been proposed for Ayr estate at Auchincruive, where SRUC vets are expected to work closely with local vets to thoroughly probe animal disease.

Local farmers who have their deceased animals checked at the centre have criticised the proposals.

An Ayrshire farmer told the Chronicle: “It’s another nail in the coffin for local farming, it’s just one thing after another, with the closing down of Auchincruive.

“There’s that many strains of virus that can affect animals, they can spread like wildfire, so we’ve got to get it right and get the right antibiotics to treat them, the centre helps us do that.

“Having to arrange travel to Dumfries will definitely come at a cost. It’s a busy centre, so if it ain’t broke why fix it?”

The farmers union NFU say they are aware of the concerns faced by their members.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “This announcement will no doubt be a disappointment to our members as well as the local communities most impacted by potential closures. Disease surveillance is a critical service for the livestock industry, and it is vital that it is not weakened through this rationalisation.”

Brian Whittle MSP for South Scotland said: “I understand that SRUC have to adapt to the challenges of financial pressures, but savings for SRUC must not come at the farmer’s expense.

“Taken together with plans by SRUC to close their educational facilities in Ayr and centralise their South & West faculty in Dumfries, there does seem to be a worrying trend away from Ayrshire.”

George Caldow, Head of SRUC Veterinary Services, said: “The proposed new model has meant some difficult decisions about the closure of post-mortem facilities. Dairy, beef, sheep and pig surveillance will be supported by at least one post-mortem facility in an area of intensive production.”

“The provision of post-mortem and pathology services will remain an essential part of our surveillance delivery model.”