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BVA upholds the skillset of vets in letter to Spectator columnist

11 Jan 2018


The Spectator columnist Melissa Kite recently wrote a piece entitled ‘I’ve seen the new face of veterinary medicine and I don’t like it’.

The column outlined her experience with a young female vet, revealing an inaccurate view of the veterinary profession. 

In response, BVA wrote a letter to the weekly magazine, defending the professional opinion of the vet mentioned in Melissa Kite’s piece. 

Unfortunately, the Spectator decided not to publish but, at the time, BVA shared the letter on social media where it received an extremely positive response as an example of the Association’s work in representing, supporting and championing the profession.

The letter read:

Dear Sir/Madam

In her piece ‘I’ve seen the new face of veterinary medicine – and I don’t like it’ Melissa Kite writes about her personal experience with two vets. In it she belittles the professional opinion of the younger female vet and describes the older male vet as ‘the last good vet in the world’. Ms Kite clearly understands that a good vet-client relationship is essential to the work of vets and the service they provide for the welfare of animals. However, what she misses is that the success of this relationship also requires the client to respect the professionalism of all vets, who are highly trained and skilled, no matter their age or sex. 

The younger vet, who Ms Kite denigrates, gave a well-considered opinion offering treatment choices and explaining the options, which is exactly what is expected of us as an evidence-based profession. Having graduated from veterinary school she will have undertaken at least five years of thorough training which includes experience in clinical practice as a compulsory part of the course. This means, no matter how recently she graduated, the vet will have a wealth of practical experience and her training will not have been based on ‘lectures of the visiting animal-rights activists’ as Ms Kite suggests. 

Our vets are incredibly knowledgeable and up-to-date with the most recent developments in veterinary practice. As a profession, we are very proud of the skills level of our graduates, and also in our application of gold standard care through evidence-based practice. It is a shame that Ms Kite feels the need to question and undermine this, especially as the veterinary profession is one that already experiences high levels of stress. Unfortunately, opinions and behaviour such as these can only add to the problem. 

BVA provides ongoing support to our members throughout their careers and we are working on a number of projects to explore the issues that vets face. But these endeavours are not helped by such unrealistic and skewed views of the profession.

Yours sincerely

John Fishwick

President, British Veterinary Association


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