Brexit: UK vets to remain ‘outward looking’ in securing animal welfare standards

Posted On: 
24th June 2016

The British Veterinary Association and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons seek to ‘minimise disruption’ and maintain high professional standards throughout Brexit negotiations.

Veterinary organisations will work with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to minimise any disruption from the transition process
Credit: 
PA

British veterinary groups acknowledge the “significant impact” of leaving the European Union on their profession, but vow to work closely with Government and international partners to ensure high standards of animal welfare are maintained.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) said the referendum result will affect vets in terms of regulation, education, and workforce planning, but also in terms of animal welfare, research, surveillance, and animal movements.

"BVA will work hard to ensure the voice of the veterinary profession is heard during the negotiation and discussions that will now begin, in order to secure the best possible outcomes for our profession and for animal health and welfare in the UK,” said BVA president, Sean Wensley.

Wensley added that the BVA/RCVS Vet Futures Action Plan, due to be launched at the Vet Futures Summit on 4 July, will outline the key initiatives the BVA will look to take forward, “albeit with revised timelines while the full impact of Brexit is determined.”

The BVA president also vowed to “retain an outward looking and inclusive perspective” through the BVA’s relationships with international partners - including the Federation of Veterinarians for Europe (FVE), Commonwealth Veterinary Association (CVA) and World Veterinary Association (WVA) - to ensure the UK veterinary profession “continues to influence and engage on cross border issues such as disease surveillance, veterinary medicines and antimicrobial resistance."

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons said it too will be “closely following” the negotiations between the UK Government and the EU, which it expects will take a minimum of two years to complete.

“It is difficult to say at this stage how the vote will affect current arrangements,” it said in a statement, “such as the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (MRPQ) that allows European vets to practise in the UK and vice-versa, and it is likely to be some time before we know.

“Needless to say, we will be working with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to minimise any disruption from the transition process. 

“As always, we will work to maintain and increase the UK’s high standards of veterinary care and animal welfare.”