BVA continues to call for vet practice regulation in Wales

British Veterinary Association (BVA) President calls on Welsh colleagues to support urgent reform of ‘not fit for purpose’ Veterinary Surgeons Act at the organisation’s annual Welsh Dinner.

Speaking last night (Wednesday 26 June) at The Classroom at Cardiff Bay, BVA President Dr Anna Judson called for urgent modernisation and cited the ongoing Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) investigation into the UK veterinary services market for pets as an opportunity to reform the ‘outdated’ Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966.

In her speech to around 80 guests, including the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies MS, Anna said: “We’ve been lobbying for veterinary legislative reform for some time and have secured cross-party support. While progress is being made, it’s slow, and we hope that the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation will act as a catalyst for this much needed change. It is simply not possible to build a modern and effective veterinary profession on the foundations of legislation which was created in a different era.”

Anna also emphasized how the current act ‘fails to embrace the full potential of the wider veterinary team’ and specifically called for the title of ‘vet nurse’ to be recognised in law, reflecting that vet nurses are highly qualified and bring a wealth of experience to practice teams.

Alongside the need to reform veterinary legislation, and with a general election imminent, Anna highlighted a number of key areas for reform outlined in BVA’s manifesto for animals, including additional pieces of animal welfare legislation to ban electronics shock collars and tackle both livestock worrying and pet import, pledging to take these important issues forward once a new government is in place.

Reflecting on recent developments in Wales, Anna praised the work of the Animal Licensing Project Wales to promote responsible dog ownership. Forming part of wider plans to improve animal welfare, the aim of this important project is to ensure that dog breeding establishments are reputable and high quality, which in turn will promote responsible dog ownership.

Anna said: “There is significant veterinary involvement, with vets working with enforcement officers to increase knowledge around fit-to-breed certificates, and providing support in cases where a breeder cannot be signed off. While the Animal Licensing Project has achieved considerable success to date, to develop it further, more sustainable funding is required so that it can become a benchmarking organisation and standardise practice across Wales. We ask for your support in achieving this.”

Anna’s speech welcomed positive progress in relation to animal welfare being made in Wales on issues BVA have lobbied for, with the Senedd recently approving legislation making it mandatory for CCTV to be installed in all slaughterhouse areas where live animals are unloaded, kept, handled, stunned and killed. The regulations came into force earlier this month, providing important safeguards for animal welfare.

She also welcomed legislation being brought forward for a compulsory Bovine Viral Diarrhoea eradication scheme in Wales, and thanked Dr Neil Paton and his team for their vital work on this project.

Read Anna’s full speech here.

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