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BVA to debate animal welfare in sports at London Vet Show
"Within the profession, we should be playing a leading role in these conversations, but first we need to consider our challenges and responsibilities"- Malcolm Morley
Animal welfare experts will discuss veterinary responsibilities.

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.”

Image © Shutterstock

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VMG president joins House of Lords

News Story 1
 Miles Russell, president of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG), has been elected to the House of Lords as a crossbench hereditary peer.

He will join Lord Trees as a representative of the veterinary sector in the second chamber of the UK parliament.

Lord Russell said: "Those of us working in the animal health and veterinary sectors are only too aware of the importance of the work we do and the challenges we face.

"I will use my platform in the House of Lords to increase understanding of our sectors and to promote positive change." 

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Sixth case of bluetongue confirmed

A sixth case of bluetongue virus serotype 3 has been confirmed in the UK.

The case was detected in an animal on a premises linked to one of the farms within the Temporary Control Zone (TCZ) currently in place near Canterbury, Kent.

In response, the Animal and Plant Health Agency has extended the TCZ. Investigations into the spread of the disease are ongoing.

The cases in Kent come at a time when a new strain of the virus has spread rapidly across farms in the Netherlands. Both the Government and the British Veterinary Association have urged livestock keepers to remain vigilant.

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and suspected cases must be reported immediately on 03000 200 301 in England or 03003 038 268 in Wales. In Scotland, possible cases should be reported to the local field services office.