British Veterinary Association

BVA is the national representative body for the veterinary profession in the UK

We guide our members throughout their careers, from student to retirement, with the support and knowledge they need to achieve their goals, and speak up for them on the issues that matter most.

We are the only UK veterinary association that looks after the interests of all vets in all disciplines. Our members are at the heart of everything we do, and with the power of more than 15,000 members behind us, we’re able to provide a voice to represent members and services to support them. 

We are a not-for-profit organisation so any money that we make is reinvested to serve the veterinary profession.

In this section:

What we do

We speak for all our members at the highest level

We represent the views of our members on animal health and welfare and veterinary policy issues to parliamentarians, government, and wider stakeholders in the UK and EU. 

We champion the veterinary profession 

We ensure the veterinary voice is heard through national and regional media and provide information to the general public about the role of veterinary surgeons. 

We formulate policy through our members' expertise

We develop evidence-based policy positions on key issues of concern to the veterinary profession and ensure every member can have their say. 

We provide services that members value to support them throughout their careers

We provide legal advice and services, professional guides and resources, and high quality CPD and training for our members. We keep members informed through our veterinary journals. 

Our vision, mission and values

Our vision

A strong and respected veterinary profession working to improve animal health and welfare for the benefit of society.

Our mission 

To be the leading body representing, supporting and championing the whole UK veterinary profession.

Our values

Our work is guided by our values:

  • We are responsive to members’ needs and put our members at the heart of everything we do
  • We believe the veterinary profession is stronger when we speak with one voice and so we work collaboratively with our divisions and branches to represent the interests of the whole UK veterinary profession
  • We seek to influence public policy and debate by being proactive in our campaigning and we strive to develop and promote evidence-led policies
  • We are open, honest and transparent in our dealings with our members, staff and stakeholders, and we respect diversity and promote equality in everything we do
  • We are innovative in providing benefits and services to support our members and provide value for money
  • We demonstrate leadership within the veterinary profession and in representing the profession in wider society

Our Strategic Plan 2015-2017

The Strategic Plan is structured around four strategic aims and includes some specific actions for BVA including:

  • reviewing our governance structures to make BVA more effective and transparent, more clearly define the relationship with our divisions, and keep pace with changes in the profession and wider society
  • building on the success of our non-stun slaughter campaign to develop a proactive campaigning agenda and increase our visibility
  • developing an overarching strategy for animal welfare – our members’ number one lobbying priority
  • conducting a full review of our membership benefits and improving support for members in the early stages of their careers
  • working in partnership with the RCVS to provide leadership for the profession through the Vet Futures project

Strategic Plan - full version (1.29 MB PDF)

Strategic Plan "at a glance" - short version (81 KB PDF)

BVA reports



Our objectives and powers are in our BVA Memorandum and Articles of Association 

Member research

We conducted a member research project in 2012, inviting 7,917 members to complete an online survey. We received 2,110 responses (27%), which provided us with valuable information about the work we do for members. Read a summary of the research findings (164 KB PDF)

A new member research project will be conducted in September 2015. The research will be undertaken by an independent research agency and will once again take the form of an online survey. BVA members will be contacted by email in mid-September 2015 with more information about the survey.

History of the UK veterinary profession

1791 The foundation of The Veterinary College, London, now the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), marked the establishment of the veterinary profession in the UK. Read more about the history of the RVC.

1844 The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) was formed after the Royal Charter was granted. Veterinary practice became a profession distinguished by the title veterinary surgeon. Thomas Turner was the first President of the RCVS, from 1844-1851. Read more about the history of the RCVS.

1882 The National Veterinary Association (NVA), later the British Veterinary Association, was formed. The following year the NVA held its first annual general meeting and elected George Fleming as its first President.

1919 NVA reconstituted as National Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA).

1952 British Veterinary Association launched. Read more in our timeline of significant events

2011 BVA joined veterinary associations across the globe to celebrate World Veterinary Year Vet to mark the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the world’s first veterinary school in Lyon, France in 1761. The UK Parliament noted the anniversary with an Early Day Motion.

Download a  full list of Presidents of BVA since 1881.

A complete history of BVA

The book Punching Above Their Weight traces the development of the British Veterinary Association from its origins in late Victorian times to the 21st century. It was published in 2013 to mark the 125th anniversary.

Author Edward Boden is a former editor of the Veterinary Record, executive editor of In Practice and Research in Veterinary Science and editor of Black’s Veterinary Dictionary.

The book is £33.00 for BVA members and £39.00 for non-members inc P&P. Visit the BVA shop to buy online, or to order call 020 7636 6541 or download the form

The book is part of Winchester University Press' New Perspectives on Veterinary History series.