BVA Flying the Flag with MPs

BVA leaders have been raising the profile of the veterinary profession at meetings with MPs at Westminster.

In October the association engaged almost 100 parliamentarians and policy makers across the main political parties. BVA president Sean Wensley said the association had promised its members it would be strong voice for vets. “Our work with the media has grown exponentially over the past couple of years, positively placing the veterinary profession in public view”, he said.

“BVA’s public affairs work is sometimes less visible, taking place behind closed doors, but it is equally important; ensuring the views at the heart of the veterinary profession reach the people who shape the policies and legislation that affect our everyday and working lives.

“Events such as the parliamentary briefing help to establish BVA as a resource for parliamentarians to any and all matters of animal health and welfare, and we also encourage MPs to get to know their local veterinary practices and see them as a way to get positive messages about animal health and welfare out to the public”.

BVA held its annual reception, hosted by honorary associate and MP Huw Irranca-Davies, which drew a record number of MPs and researchers, including Defra minister George Eustice, shadow environment secretary Kerry McCarthy and Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Baroness Parminter.

Mr Wensley  highlighted some of BVA’s priority areas and for the coming year and MPs were invited to discuss veterinary or animal health and welfare issues with representatives from BVA, BCVA, BEVA, BSAVA, SPVS and BVNA.

BVA also held a bTB briefing, hosted by BVA honorary member and MP Neil Parish, which focused on the scientific evidence, ethics,practical control measures and BVA’s policy. Mr Wensley and senior vice-president John Blackwell  delivered the presentation and took questions.

Mr Blackwell said: “We stressed the importance of a comprehensive evidence based strategy that tackles the disease in wildlife as well as in cattle in a humane and targeted way.

“BVA’s autumn parliamentary briefings have offered a fantastic opportunity for MPs to speak to BVA about the issues affecting their constituents, or coming up in parliament. It was also a chance to brief MPs on the key topics with a political impact that matter most to us”.

Mr Wensley and Mr Blackwell also attended a reception for the Food Standards Agency to reiterate BVA’s position on welfare at slaughter.