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Vet Futures: Guest blogger asks if VAT on vet fees for pets should be dropped?

RCVS | Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

2 min read Partner content

In this months Vet Futures guest blog Stuart Winter, the Sunday Express small animal columnist and a campaigner to end VAT on pet fees, asks if charging VAT is a barrier to owners registering their pets with a veterinary surgery.

To tie in with the blog, this month Vet Futures is asking members of the profession whether VAT should be removed from veterinary fees.

Stuart Winter argues that owning a pet is not a luxury to be taxed when they need medical intervention but that owning a companion improves the health and wellbeing of its owner.  
He writes that removing VAT on veterinary fees for domestic animals, or at least reducing it to five pence in the pound, would improve the nation’s animal welfare. It would allow low-income families to seek medical attention earlier, he argues, while allowing more owners to afford and take out pet insurance.

He says that shifting Government thinking on the subject might be a Herculean task, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t campaign for its removal. “No Chancellor delights in losing revenue.  Treating, curing and caring for sick and injured animals is nothing more than a service and services are ripe to be harvested.

“It is time for a counter argument. Pet ownership is not a luxury. It is more than a privilege. Is it not a human right? Welcoming animals into our lives makes our lives more fulfilled and more civilised,” he writes.   

This month’s poll asks: Would you agree that VAT should no longer be levelled on vet fees? We encourage members of the veterinary team and the public to take part in the poll so that we can generate debate on the issue of VAT and better understand the full consequences if it was removed.

January’s poll asked members of the profession if they could recognise the signs of mental ill-health in a colleague. Reassuringly, just over half (58%) of the 65 respondents said they would be able to recognise the signs, although that leaves 40% who would not feel comfortable in their ability to do so.

To read Stuart Winter’s blog and contribute to the discussion please visit

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