The British Veterinary Association (BVA) will host a panel debating the challenges and responsibilities of the veterinary industry for animals used in sports at this year’s London Vet Show.
The BVA Congress session, titled ‘Animal Athletes: What are the veterinary profession’s challenges and responsibilities?’, will be chaired by equine veterinary surgeon and BVA senior vice president Malcolm Morley.
Dr Morley will lead a panel of industry experts in a discussion exploring the responsibilities of veterinary surgeons and nurses as advocates for animal welfare in sports.
The debate follows the Autumn 2023 BVA Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, which revealed that 81 per cent of veterinary surgeons and students thought that the veterinary profession should be more involved in developing and delivering welfare improvements for animals used in sport.
The survey also showed that 17 per cent of veterinary professionals thought animals should be banned in at least some competitive sport. Meanwhile 51 per cent said that, while they shouldn’t be banned, increased regulation was needed when it comes to welfare.
BVA’s discussion also comes as issues relating to animal welfare reach the mainstream news.
In October 2023 the Jockey Club announced that they would be significantly changing some of the Grand National’s rules, including a 34 horse limit on participants. The rule change came as part of an internal investigation into horse welfare.
Elsewhere animal welfare charity Blue Cross continued its campaign to ban greyhound racing within the next five years, by releasing spoof greyhound racing advertisements across the UK.
The BVA’s discussion will explore the role that the veterinary industry should have in animal welfare in sports.
The panel includes Madeleine Campbell, chair of BVA’s ethic and welfare panel and professor of veterinary ethics at Nottingham Vet School, and Bruce Bladon, president elect of the British Equine Veterinary Association.
Also taking part in the panel are Anette Graf, chair of the Federation of European Equine Veterinary Associations horse welfare Working Group in Sweden, and RSPCA chief veterinary officer Caroline Allen.
The session will be taking place in BVA’s Congress Theatre on Thursday, 16 November 2023 at 1.15pm.
Malcolm Morley said: “We know there’s been increased scrutiny of the ways we use animals in competitive sports. Within the profession, we should be playing a leading role in these conversations, but first we need to consider our challenges and responsibilities.
“With many vets keen to see greater regulation and some even favouring a complete ban, I look forward to hearing from this expert panel of speakers.”
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