Journal news

Allan Christie Annat

A dedicated, accomplished and compassionate vet, who made a difference. He had boundless energy and endless jokes, and enjoyed sharing his enthusiasm about being a vet with students.

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Should BVA take a stand on government plan for migration salary threshold?

Should BVA do more than just highlight the potential consequences of a government proposal for a salary threshold for anyone migrating to the UK after Brexit?

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Addressing priority animal welfare problems

As part of its Animal Welfare Strategy BVA has committed to raising awareness of, and encouraging action on, more than 100 priority animal welfare problems identified with the help of its species-specialist divisions. Council members were given an update on progress so far.

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How can BVA offer more to members?

Council members were asked to suggest ways in which BVA could enhance the services it offers.

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Council news in brief

Welfare at slaughter

Following a meeting with Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove, BVA has been invited to a roundtable organised by Defra to discuss policy around non-stun slaughter. The roundtable, which will take place next month, will involve representatives from religious groups, animal welfare organisations and industry and will look for areas of consensus where policy reform may be possible.

policy working groups formed

BVA’s Policy Committee has convened three working groups to review and develop policy positions on: the control and eradication of bovine TB; a vision and voluntary standards for good veterinary workplaces; and welfare around the time of slaughter. This last group will examine the whole slaughter process, not just methods of stunning.

Junior vice president 2019/20

Council members supported the nomination of James Russell as BVA Junior Vice President for 2019/20. Mr Russell’s name will now go forward for approval at BVA’s...

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Marketing within the livestock industry has been at the heart of my career

Vet Louise Radford is driven by variety, change and teamwork, and always enjoys travelling. Her career spent working in industry has met these needs.

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Vet nurse research bursary

Applications are open for MSD Animal Health’s veterinary nurse (VN) research bursary. Student or qualified VNs in the UK are invited to submit an application for a research project and the best one will be awarded a bursary of £1000. There will be a further opportunity to win additional prizes of £1000 and £500 for the best proposals and presentations at the MSD Animal Health’s Research Bursary Day in June.

Michelle Townley, veterinary adviser at MSD Animal Health said: ‘We are delighted that we’ve had such a positive response from vet nurses since we launched this new research bursary last year. We want to encourage as many as possible to apply. We view our investment in research, and the pursuit of new knowledge, as the lifeblood of the veterinary industry.’

Applications must be made by 10 May, and additional information and details are available at

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supporting education around livestock health and welfare

Funding is available to support individuals wishing to broaden their experience and education around livestock health and welfare. Applications are now open for the 2019 Moredun Foundation Award Scheme.

The scheme offers individuals the opportunity to pursue a short-term project to broaden their education, and projects may involve work experience, travel, or collaborations with science or the arts. They are available to members of the Moredun Foundation. The award aims to support personal development, education and valuable experience as well as contributing to Moredun’s mission. It is open to a wide variety of project proposals with £2000 available per award.

Lee Innes, Moredun’s director of communications, said: ‘We are very keen at Moredun to promote the value of education, experience and travel to improve understanding of the farming and livestock industries, and provide individuals with the opportunity to further their experiences and personal development. We are excited about the...

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Should vets eat less meat?

With demonstrations about climate change in full swing on the streets of London, the BVA could scarcely have chosen a more fitting time to unveil its new position on sustainable agriculture.

Its 15-page paper on this critical subject, released last week, was packed full of future-proofing insight on such topics as edible insects and genetically engineered goats.

However, the element likely to generate most debate was its call for people to reduce their consumption of animal-derived products (VR, 20 April 2019, vol 184, p 490).

The BVA’s favoured approach involves eating ‘less and better’. Under this vision ‘some citizens’ would maintain a similar weekly spend on their groceries but would eat less meat, dairy products, eggs, and so on.

In other words, consume animal-derived products less frequently and, when you do, opt for more expensive products associated with higher health and welfare. Also, minimise waste – so use the...

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BVA council pushes for firmer stance on pay

By Josh Loeb

The BVA is to demand that vets are paid a ‘professional salary that reflects the value of their work’.

The demand will be made in a fresh position statement on vet pay and immigration this year.

The move follows some criticism that the association was not sufficiently critical of low pay (VR, 5 January 2019, vol 184, pp 4-5).

In December the BVA issued a press statement criticising the proposed introduction of a £30,000 pay threshold for all EU workers, as suggested by the Migration Advisory Committee in its advice to the Home Office.

At the time the government said it wanted to control immigration post Brexit and, at the same time, create a level playing field for all migrant workers (the £30,000 threshold already applies to non-EU citizens obtaining a work visa).

In response the BVA warned that creating such a threshold could threaten the status...

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Brexit has not put off EU vets coming to the UK

By Josh Loeb

Vets are continuing to migrate to the UK in significant numbers from countries in the EU, fresh figures indicate.

Nearly 2000 EU vets moved to the UK to practise after the Brexit vote – indicating that the result of the referendum did not put them off coming. This equates to around a quarter of all the EU vets practising in the UK currently.

Furthermore, most such vets say that they feel optimistic about their future, with younger European vets particularly likely to say this.

The findings, based on thousands of responses to an RCVS survey of members of the UK veterinary workforce who graduated in other EU member states, form part of a college-commissioned Institute for Employment Studies (IES) report, released this week.

The report, intended to give an insight into the current and potential future impacts of Brexit on vets from the EU, lists the...

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Share your clients recognition with #ThankYouThursday

There is just one more week to get involved in the BVA’s latest campaign.

#ThankYouThursday is a weekly social media campaign for National Pet Month (1 April-6 May) to celebrate the bond between veterinary teams and their patients and to promote the value of vets and vet nurses.

As part of the campaign, the association is asking vets and vet nurses to share photos or videos of their favourite thank you cards from clients. At the same time, they would like pet owners to show their appreciation for the treatment and care their vet or vet nurse provides their pet.

At the end of pet month, the BVA will collate some of its favourite photos and messages in a slideshow or video reel and turn the entries into a Twitter Moment.

Vets and vet nurses can share their pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtags #ThankYouThursday, #lovemyvet...

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Bayer Animal Health GmbH and adivo GmbH have signed a global collaboration agreement to develop therapeutic antibodies for veterinary medicine. Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer Animal Health will have access to adivo’s species-specific monoclonal antibody technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Tangerine Group – which includes VetPlus, Agri Lloyd and Carr Day and Martin – has announced a jump in profits for the year ending June 2018. During the year, sales increased 8 per cent to £26.5 million, while pre-exceptional profits jumped 13 per cent to £3.5 million. The growth was driven largely by the veterinary division, which now accounts for over 70 per cent of all sales, with exports accounting for more than half of those. The group was founded in 1995 and is based in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire.

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Feline hypertension month

CEVA Animal Health is encouraging vets to measure cats’ blood pressure in May as part of Feline Hypertension Month.

Systemic hypertension is recognised as a serious problem in ageing cats and the initiative aims to improve the detection and management of high blood pressure. Cats aged seven years of age and above should be checked for feline hypertension as recommended by the International Society of Feline Medicine. Practices can register at

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Dogs Trust has appointed Owen Sharp as its chief executive, following the death of Adrian Burder. Sharp joins Dogs Trust in July from the Movember Foundation – a global charity that seeks to improve men’s health. Dogs Trust is now a £106 million charity, helping 15,000 dogs a year directly through its rehoming centres, and many more through its promotion of veterinary research, its dog training classes, education workshops, and its campaign to end puppy smuggling.

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Herriots way - not fit for modern practice

By Josh Loeb

James Herriot is to blame for some clients expecting vets to carry out work free of charge.

That is the view of Sue Paterson, the new president of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA).

She said there was an unfair assumption on the part of some clients that vets’ connection with animals would lead them to carry out work free of charge and that this had led the public to erroneously view vets as a cost-free source of care for animals.

‘I think James Herriot is to blame because we’re all supposed to love animals and work for nothing, but we all run businesses,’ she said.

Paterson made the comments during a discussion about telemedicine at BSAVA’s congress earlier this month.

She also suggested that vets were selling themselves short by imparting free advice.

In the James Herriot series of books, Herriot – the nom...

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New highs for pet insurance market

By Georgina Mills

Pet insurers paid out a record-breaking £785 million last year, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has reported.

This compares to £775 million in 2017, and £706 million in 2016.

The ABI said the rise is likely to have been caused by a ‘significant increase’ in average claim size, as prices increase with the sophistication of veterinary treatments available.

The average claim in 2018 was £793, an increase of £36 on the year before. However, the average premium for pet owners actually decreased for the first time in eight years, from £281 in 2017 to £279.

The ABI also reported that more people than ever before insured their pets last year, with nearly 4.3 million pets being covered (see graph). This equates to just over half the pets owned in the UK – the pet population is an estimated 7.5 million.

Payouts for individual pets have...

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Prevention is better than cure

Suzanne Jarvis discusses new thinking on obesity in cats and dogs

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In brief

African swine fever in China rages on

African swine fever (ASF) has been dubbed ‘out of control’ in China after being confirmed in all of the country’s provinces and regions.

The Chinese government confirmed last week that the disease had been found in two locations in the Hainan province, an island off China’s southern coast. ASF has now been found in every province in the country since it was first detected in August 2018.

The rapid spread of the disease has caused concern about a pork shortage, given that China is the world’s top producer of the meat.

The National Bureau of Statistics confirmed last week that pork output in the first three months of this year was down 5.2 per cent from a year earlier.

Hainan island was considered by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to have a good ‘natural barrier’ against the disease, and in...

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