GOVERNMENT officials have come under fire for sending vets and animal health experts on away-days at the taxpayer’s expense at which they were taught to play the bongos.
The Animal Health agency, the Environment Department’s (Defra) body responsible for the fight against diseases such as bovine TB and bluetongue, spent around £500,000 on a series of 15 one-day conferences around the country.
As part of the events, around 1,700 vets and animal health experts normally on the front line of tackling diseases in livestock took part in drumming sessions.
Animal Health said the conferences were organised to give staff a chance to talk to senior management and discuss the organisation’s new strategy.
The agency said staff participated "in a series of exercises which aimed to bring home the importance of effective working in an interesting, involving and fun way".
Participants then talked about what they had learned from the exercise "that would be applicable in responding to an outbreak of animal disease" - one of the agency’s core roles.
Animal Health added that feedback had been "strongly favourable" overall about the days.