British Veterinary Association announces new Scottish Branch President

17 May 2017

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon (RCVS) Council member Melissa Donald has been elected as President for the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Scottish Branch at its annual general meeting (AGM), held at Edinburgh’s Saughton House on 16 May.

A Glasgow Veterinary School graduate, Melissa worked as a production animal vet at Iowa State University in the USA for three years before returning to the Ayrshire coast to work in mixed practice. Over the next 25 years, Melissa and her husband, Kenny, a farmer, developed a small animal practice, with Melissa the practice’s new graduate mentor.

Melissa has been involved with BVA for many years prior to joining the BVA Scottish Branch team last year as Junior Vice President. She has served on various BVA committees as well as BVA Council, and is also a past President of Ayrshire Veterinary Association. In 2004, she became the Clinical Coach for the nurse training and later the RCVS practical OSCE examiner for veterinary nursing exams. Last year Melissa took the decision to step out of clinical practice, to focus on running a smallholding in the Ayrshire hills and she was also elected onto the RCVS Council.

Melissa said:
“I am honoured to be elected as President of BVA Scottish Branch. I believe my varied clinical experience, insight into vet nurse training, and previous veterinary representative roles have stood me in good stead to whole-heartedly champion the issues that matter most to the veterinary professions in Scotland.

"I look forward to working with the BVA Branch team and veterinary colleagues throughout Scotland to provide a strong voice for vets, especially at national level; ensuring the profession’s evidence-based input continue to be heard on animal health, welfare and public health.”

Melissa succeeds Grace Webster as President of BVA Scottish Branch, which represents all BVA members in Scotland bringing together specialist and territorial divisions, government, academic institutions and research organisations in Scotland. Melissa has been elected BVA Scottish Branch President for a two-year term.

One of Melissa’s first roles as BVA Scottish Branch President will be giving evidence to Scottish Government’s Environment Committee on tail shortening for dogs, before Parliament votes on whether to change the legislation from the current ban on tail docking to permit tail shortening for spaniels and hunt point retrievers intended for use as working dogs.

Congratulating Melissa on her election, British Veterinary Association President Gudrun Ravetz said:
“I am delighted to welcome Melissa as President of BVA Scottish Branch - the work of BVA’s Branches is invaluable in representing the veterinary profession right across the UK.

"Many of Scotland’s animal health and welfare successes could not have been achieved without veterinary input and involvement; from our campaigning to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses to securing Porcine Epidemic Disease (PED) as a listed notifiable disease. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Grace Webster for all her hard work during her time as BVA Scottish Branch President, and I know Melissa will continue the effective working with Government, industry, farmers and our other partners that is key to safeguarding animal health and protecting animal welfare in Scotland.”

As part of the network of devolved and specialist divisions, BVA Branches contribute local knowledge and expertise to BVA’s wider lobbying and representational activities. Recently BVA Scottish Branch has helped progress a range of issues including responding to consultation to support the Scottish Government’s application for BSE negligible risk status and tripartite working, involving the Animal Plant and Health Association (APHA), on arrangements for Official Veterinarians.

For more information about BVA Scottish Branch or to contact a member of the team, please visit the BVA Scottish Branch page

BVA President Scottish Dinner speech 2017 (363 KB PDF)

BVA Media Office