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BVA president praises Scotland on animal welfare policies
BVA president John Fishwick with Scottish Branch members at the organisation's annual Scottish dinner.
John Fishwick addresses guests at organisation’s annual Scottish Dinner

BVA president John Fishwick has praised the Scottish government for ‘leading the pack’ on animal welfare.

Speaking at the BVA’s annual Scottish dinner on Tuesday (15 May), Mr Fishwick said: “Scotland has really led the way on developing policies that keep animal health and welfare front and centre over the past year, and it’s been especially heartening when this has also prompted movement and debate on crucial pieces of legislation across the rest of the UK.”

More than 100 people attended the BVA's annual Scottish dinner, which was held in the Scottish Parliament. Guests included environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham, parliamentarians, key representatives from animal health and welfare organisations, and colleagues from across the veterinary profession.

Mr Fishwick underscored several policies that prioritise keeping animals happy and healthy, including the vote to ban the use of wild animals in circuses and a commitment from the Scottish Government to take steps towards banning the use of electric shock collars.

He also touched on the work of various projects that address recruitment and retention challenges in the workforce or provide mental health support to vets. Commenting on the work of the National Rural Mental Health Forum and the ‘Developing the Veterinary Landscape in Scotland’ project, he said:

“The projects have much to do, but it is incumbent on the veterinary profession to tackle issues together and ensure that the workforce is resilient and well-supported now and going into the future.”

Mr Fishwick also spoke about the challenges and opportunities posed by Brexit and urged the guests to support BVA’s call for the Home Office to place vets on the shortage occupation list. Research conducted by the RCVS suggests that one in five vets is now actively looking for work outside the UK, with 44 per cent saying they are ‘fearful’ about what the future might hold.

“There are over 2,200 vets working in Scotland, and of these 14 per cent are non-UK EU graduates,” Mr Fishwick said. “Many of these are playing a crucial role in supporting Scotland’s agricultural industry as a cornerstone of the economy. 

“The impact of the loss of even a small percentage of the veterinary workforce could have serious repercussions, especially in slaughterhouses, where it’s estimated that 95 per cent of vets delivering vital public health roles are from overseas, mostly the EU.” 

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ISFM announces first veterinary nurse conference

News Story 1
 The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) - the veterinary division of International Cat Care - has announced its first annual conference dedicated to veterinary nurses. The day offers an opportunity to meet up with colleagues and enjoy more than five hours of stimulating CPD.

The conference is being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Stratford-Upon-Avon, on Saturday 15 September 2018. Tickets are Ł95 per person and include lunch, coffee breaks, downloadable proceedings and CPD certificate. For details and to book your place visit  

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WSAVA awards Australian vet with 'Next Generation’ award

Australian vet Dr Guyan Weerasinghe has been crowned winner of the WSAVA ‘Next Generation’ Veterinary Award. The award recognises those who graduated within the last 10 years and have made a significant contribution to the welfare of companion animals and the veterinary profession as a whole.

Besides maintaining a small animal caseload, Dr Weerasinghe works for the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture where he is involved with animal disease surveillance and increasing the public health risks in veterinary practice. He also collaborates on various One Health projects across Australia and gives regular talks on the impact of climate change on animal health and welfare.

Dr Weerasinghe will receive his award at the WSAVA World Congress 2018 (25-28 September).