Recognising fish as animals

05 Sep 2020

Treves-Brown, K.

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Many years ago I was a member of BVA council representing a species division. Throughout this time I was uncomfortably aware that the name of the division I represented – the Fish Veterinary Society – was a contradiction in legal terms. The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (VSA) has a definition of animals and, while the current definition is wholly unsatisfactory (it doesn’t actually mention mammals but includes birds and reptiles), it excludes fish.

In the 1990s, I proposed a policy statement to BVA council: ‘That in any future Veterinary Surgeons Act the definition of animals should be "All vertebrates except Man".’ The statement was passed and to the best of my knowledge that decision has never been rescinded or amended.

The Veterinary Surgeons Act must include fish

I hope the RCVS Legislation Working Party, which is considering the VSA, will take note on this fundamentally important aspect of...