Making vets' voices heard on Brexit

Posted on May 02, 2017 by Gudrun Ravetz

European member state flagsWhatever your vote in the EU referendum last June, the result came as a shock to most of us!

In the weeks that followed the referendum, BVA established a Brexit working group under the chairmanship of former UK deputy CVO Alick Simmons, bringing together our devolved Branches, BVA specialist divisions, and vets with relevant expertise and insights, to assess the potential challenges and identify opportunities that Brexit may present.

At the forefront of this was the personal impact the referendum outcome had on our EU colleagues living and working in the UK, who make a vital contribution to the UK veterinary workforce and who were, overnight, facing the uncertainty of their status being used as political bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations. 

Recognising that we want a strong lobbying position for the profession as a whole, BVA has worked collaborative with the profession’s regulator, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), throughout this process – writing to the Prime Minister, sharing information to support each other's efforts and avoid duplication of work, and much more besides.

After 10 months of extensive consultation, undertaken by our Brexit working group, with the wider profession and sector stakeholders, last week BVA’s ‘ Brexit and the veterinary profession’ report was discussed at BVA Council. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and brought a final few sage nuances to what is already an excellent document.

Launch of BVA 2017 manifesto

We have now launched our full 'Brexit and the veterinary profession' report that expands on our Brexit Principles and priorities (143 KB PDF), announced 6 months ago. The report will outlines, medium and long-term recommendations across 7 areas of far-reaching public policy. I would encourage you all to read it – or at least the executive summary! - champion it, and let us know your thoughts. 

In the coming weeks, months and years, we will use ‘ Brexit and the veterinary profession’ to lobby policy makers and parliamentarians to ensure that a strong veterinary voice is heard and considered in Brexit negotiations and discussions.

However, with the political rug once more pulled out from under our feet and a snap general election called for a few weeks’ time, we have acted quickly and produced a manifesto for 2017 (226 KB PDF). Our manifesto has been drafted from our 2015 General Election manifesto and BVA’s Brexit report, and has been sent to all of the major UK political parties urging them to consider our recommendations in their own manifesto-writing ahead of the General Election.

Ultimately this is your report, for the veterinary profession in the UK, outlining what we believe needs to happen to ensure that we can secure the best possible outcomes for animal health, animal welfare, public health, and the profession itself, post-Brexit.

Gudrun Ravetz

Written by Gudrun Ravetz

BVA past President

Gudrun currently works as a Veterinary Consultant for Denplan and is an interviewer for prospective students at University of Liverpool. Gudrun was previously President of the Society for Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS). Follow @RavetzGudrun on Twitter.