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BVA appoints new president
Farm vet James Russell will lead the BVA for 2020/21.

James Russell plans to prioritise 'keeping vets healthy' in his presidential year.

Staffordshire-based farm vet James Russell has been announced as president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) for 2020/21.

Mr Russell takes on the role following 17 years working in mixed practice, during which he was the director of a large veterinary practice in Ashbourne and later became an independent veterinary consultant.

In his term as junior vice president, Mr Russell helped to develop and launch a comprehensive new policy position on bovine tuberculosis. The updated document considers new and emerging evidence, setting out a holistic roadmap to control and bring an end to this challenging animal health issue.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Mr Russell led much of the farm, large animal and rural veterinary guidance for members. He is also involved with Vetlife and, in January 2020, joined the Vetlife board.

In his role as president of the BVA, Mr Russell plans to take forward the BVA's Good Workplace position through supporting calls for a more positive and inclusive working experience.

He said: “I feel humbled and thrilled to be entering into my presidential year at this crucial time for our profession. My year as Junior Vice President has definitely not reflected the advert – be prepared to be away from home quite a bit, but don’t worry the events make up for it – but it has been a privilege and a steep learning curve.

“When the COVID pandemic hit, as an association we were able to draw on the breadth and depth of experience within our small team to respond with agility and accuracy to often very challenging situations.”

He continued: “Reducing the leaks in the bucket of our profession and helping others to find fulfilment in their work are massively important to me, especially as we recognise the new and amplified mental health challenges facing the profession as we adapt to new ways of working. It is this which has reinforced my desire to make ‘keeping vets healthy’ the theme that I hope to apply to all my thinking and work this year.”

Welcoming Mr Russell to the role, outgoing president Daniella Dos Santos reflected on ‘a year like no other’, adding that BVA would continue to be there for everyone in the veterinary community during the challenging and uncertain times ahead.

Daniella, who will continue on the BVA Officer team as senior vice president, said:  “There isn’t a book on how to lead during a pandemic, let alone doing it during an election year, a transition period, or when the regulation of your profession is being re-evaluated.

“This year has been unpredictable and unlike any other, but at every step of the way I have been absolutely honoured to serve you as BVA’s President and could not be prouder to be part of our incredible profession.”

During the virtual handover session on Thursday (17 September), Winchester-based zoo and wildlife veterinary surgeon, Dr Justine Shotton was elected junior vice president. He will join James and Daniella on BVA's Officer team for 2020/21.

Image (C) BVA.

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Born Free video highlights how humans are to blame for COVID-19

News Story 1
 Wildlife charity Born Free has released a video emphasising the importance of changing the ways in which humans treat wildlife in order to prevent pandemics from occurring in the future.

The video, narrated by founder patron Joanna Lumley OBE, says: "To deal with the very immediate threat of another global catastrophe, we have to focus on ending the destruction and conversion of natural habitats and the devastating impact of the wildlife trade.

"The vast majority of these viruses originated in wild animals before infecting us. Destroying and exploiting nature puts us in closer contact with wildlife than ever before."

Born Free has compiled an online resource with information on how to take action and improve protections for wildlife here.

To view the video, please click here.

Images (c) Jan Schmidt-Burbach. 

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News Shorts
RVC opens 2021 Summer Schools applications

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has opened applications for its 2021 Summer Schools, with students in Years 10, 11 and 12 invited to apply.

Taking place between July and August 2021, the event gives budding vets from all backgrounds first-hand insight into what it's like to study at the Campus.

Much of this year's content is likely to be delivered virtually, including online lectures and practical demonstrations, but the RVC hopes to welcome each of the participants to campus for at least one day to gain some hands-on experience.

For more information about the Schools and to apply, visit: rvc.uk.com/SummerSchools Applications close on the 2 March 2021.