British Veterinary Association

BVA is the national representative body for veterinary surgeons in the UK. 

We guide members throughout their careers, from student to retirement, with the support and knowledge they need to achieve their goals, and to 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 14,000 members behind us, we’re able to provide a voice to represent members and services to support them. 

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 mission and values

BVA exists to represent the veterinary profession and support members to fulfil their roles for the benefit of animals and the public good.

  • Our members are at the heart of everything we do
  • We work with individual members and our divisions to speak with one voice
  • We use our influence to promote and further the interests of the veterinary profession 
  • We strive to deliver quality valued services for our members

Our strategic objectives (2011-15)

BVA aims to:

  • Grow the membership to continue to be the leading UK veterinary professional body 
  • Determine and represent the views of the majority of UK veterinary professionals on matters of veterinary policy, ethics and animal welfare
  • Be the first source of informed opinion on veterinary issues for government, veterinary surgeons, the media and the public in the UK 
  • Engage fully with divisions and individual members to speak with one voice
  • To be the leading provider of veterinary news and information, including clinical and scientific developments, to our members and the wider veterinary community
  • Develop services that members value
  • Ensure adequate resources are in place for current and future needs, in delivering the objectives

BVA reports

Annual report 2012/13

2012 audited accounts

Annual report 2011/12

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

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 £27.50 for BVA members and £32.50 for non-members inc P&P. To order call 020 7636 6541 or download the form

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