BVNA comments on appointment of new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

In yesterday’s Cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appointed Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Steve Barclay replaces Thérèse Coffey, having previously served as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

BVNA President Lyndsay Hughes commented: “The appointment of the new Defra Secretary is important to the veterinary nursing profession, as it has come at an already challenging time for the veterinary sector as a whole. The pressing animal welfare issues targeted by the dropped Kept Animals Bill remain unaddressed – which, among many others, include ear cropping and illegal puppy smuggling. There have been delays to implementing the previously announced legislation banning electric shock collars, while the ban on XL bully dogs is now imminent. Veterinary nurses play a pivotal role in upholding welfare standards for all animals, and we know the profession is frustrated and saddened by these issues.

“We’re also continuing to campaign for reform of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 – which we believe is no longer fit for purpose – to include the need for statutory protection of our title. We look forward to continuing to build upon our working relationship with Defra under Steve Barclay’s leadership, to ensure the veterinary nursing voice is heard in the calls for legislative change.”

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