Veterinary Development Council

In this section you can find more about the BVA’s Veterinary Development Council (VDC).

VDC 2011-12 Report published

The multi-stakeholder Veterinary Development Council (VDC) today publishes its report setting out practical ways to help the veterinary profession meet the demands of the UK food sector in the future.   The VDC was established in January 2011 following a recommendation in Professor Lowe’s report ‘Unlocking Potential’ in 2009 that a development council be set up to guide the long-term development of veterinary services.  

The Council brought together representatives from across the whole food supply chain for the first time: veterinary surgeons, regulators, government, producers, processors, retailers, promoters, the veterinary schools, and the veterinary pharmaceutical industry. The VDC identified key areas to address and established three Working Groups to carry out detailed work and report to the Council focusing on: The Role of the Vet-led Team, Business Models, and Food Industry Engagement.

BVA members can contribute to the discussion through the BVA Community. Both members and non-members can send their views to  


The development of a VDC was put forward as one of the recommendations of Professor Philip Lowe’s report ‘Unlocking Potential: A report on veterinary expertise in food animal production’ which was published in August 2009.

Professor Lowe chaired the Vets and Veterinary Services Working Group which investigated concerns regarding the reducing number of veterinary graduates entering large animal practice and the potential impact of this on the food supply chain and public health.

The BVA established the VDC in 2010 to take forward some of Professor Lowe’s findings. The first meeting of the VDC was held in January 2011 (see below).

The Chairman

The VDC is chaired by Professor Richard Bennett, Professor of Agricultural Economics in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development at the University of Reading.

BVA Officers selected the current Chairman from a number of candidates proposed by the BVA’s standing committee, the Veterinary Policy Group and BVA Council.

The position of Chair is funded by Defra. 

The Composition of the VDC

As agreed by BVA Veterinary Policy Group and the BVA Council, the VDC comprises of around 50 representatives from the veterinary profession, veterinary education, the farming industry, slaughterers and processors and retail. 

A smaller core group of representatives has also been established as a subset of the main VDC. This group will assist the Chair more actively in facilitating the work of the VDC by gathering information and acting as an initial sounding board for proposals.

During the course of its work, the core group convened three working groups to look at a number of areas in more detail. These working groups were:

  • The working group looking at veterinary engagement in the food supply chain;
  • The working group looking at business models in farm animal practice;
  • The working group looking at the role of the veterinary-led team.

More information on the VDC Working Groups

Whilst the primary focus of the VDC is on veterinary engagement in the food supply chain, the VDC recognises that its recommendations may have implications for other areas of the profession, such as companion animals, and will keep this in mind as work progresses.

Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference for the VDC were developed by the BVA’s Veterinary Policy Group and the BVA Council, with input from the Chairman. They were agreed at the first meeting of the VDC.


The first meeting of the VDC took place on the 25 January 2011. This meeting included a first meeting of a core group of representatives. 

Further meetings of the core group took place in April, September and November 2011.
A second meeting of the VDC took place on 23 January 2012 where draft recommendations were presented to the group for discussion. The recommendations were finalised at a core group meeting in March 2012.


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