New British Veterinary Association President pledges to champion a modern, accessible profession for everyone

GP vet Dr Anna Judson BVSc MSc MRCVS has been elected President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) for 2023-2024 at the organisation’s Members’ Day in Glasgow today (28 September).

A 1987 graduate of Liverpool Vet School, Dr Judson’s veterinary career has included ownership of both mixed and small animal practices in rural mid Wales. She is a Past President of the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS), has an MSc in Nature Conservation and has led UK-wide veterinary sustainability initiatives.

In her first speech as President, Sussex-based Dr Judson introduced her presidential theme, ‘A profession for everyone’.

Addressing members, she said:

“Being a vet is incredibly rewarding, and I want more people to experience what is a true vocation. We need to build a thriving profession, we need one that attracts and holds onto our people, one that provides the right care at the right time to our patients, and one that contributes positively, rather than impacting on, the planet we share with other animals. We must ask ourselves difficult questions about what we could be doing differently to bring about positive change.

“BVA’s Good Veterinary Workplace initiative is already helping practices to build a more flexible, inclusive and sustainable profession of which we can all be proud. My theme will accelerate that progress, with BVA taking practical steps to support vet teams to build workplaces where everyone can thrive. Creating good veterinary workplaces is vital to the future of the profession, which in turn is good for animal welfare and sustainability.

“I am confident that together we can continue to build a modern, accessible profession for everyone. One that cares about and advocates for good animal welfare, that provides a rewarding career for all those who seek to be part of it, and one that takes action to protect the planet and its incredible ecosystem that makes this all possible.”

Dr Judson also underlined that ensuring BVA members’ voices are heard as part of the recently launched Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) review would be a big priority during her presidential year and urged vets to share inputs directly with the CMA and with BVA.

She said: “It’s important for us all to recognise that the outcome may have far-reaching consequences, not just for companion animal vet teams but across the profession more broadly. Although undoubtably challenging, we see the review as an opportunity to shine a light on the highly skilled and compassionate work that vets and vet teams deliver day in, day out for animals and their clients across the UK. It’s a chance to demonstrate our value and reset the damaging narrative in the media around costs of veterinary care, something that BVA has been tirelessly challenging over the last twelve months since the cost-of-living crisis took hold.” 

Dr Judson will also focus on other key issues facing the profession and standards of animal welfare, such as a ban on the import of dogs with cropped ears or puppies under six months of age; a ban on keeping primates as pets and pressing Government to address the root causes of the rise in dog aggression cases.

Outgoing BVA President and equine vet Dr Malcolm Morley BVSc MRCVS will step into the post of BVA Senior Vice President. During his presidential year, Dr Morley focused on the theme of ‘Investing in people’ to help both veterinary employers and employees build positive, inclusive workplaces and a supporting culture that enables teams to recruit and retain staff as well as deliver high-quality care for patients. 

In his speech to members, he highlighted BVA’s lobbying and campaigning work in 2022/23 which included supporting the profession to have conversations about costs and the value of veterinary care amid a cost-of-living crisis; securing three years of veterinary medicine supplies for Northern Ireland to allow time to find a more permanent post-Brexit solution; pushing for a much-needed reform of the Veterinary Surgeons Act and the protection of the vet nurse title; and the launch of the BVA Menopause Hub to support everyone affected by this life stage.

Dr Elizabeth Mullineaux BVM&S, DVM&S, CertSHP, FRCVShas been elected as the new BVA Junior Vice President. An RCVS Recognised Specialist in Wildlife Medicine (Mammalian), Dr Mullineaux juggles roles as a locum small animal vet in Edinburgh; invited tutor on wildlife and conservation medicine courses at universities in England, Scotland and Italy; and Scientific Advisor to Secret World Wildlife Rescue. She is also past president of the British Veterinary Zoological Society.

BVA Members’ Day and AGM is an annual event which includes the election of BVA’s President, Senior Vice President and Junior Vice President and the presentation of BVA’s prestigious awards: Dalrymple-Champneys Cup and Medal, BVA Outstanding Service Award (Chiron Award), BVA Animal Health and Welfare Overseas Award (J. Trevor Blackburn Award), BVA Council Impact Award (Bleby Cup) and the Harry Steele-Bodger Scholarship.

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