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BVA president outlines value of vets at annual dinner

British Veterinary Association (BVA) president Peter Jones used his annual London dinner speech to call on the Government, parliamentarians and other stakeholders to see the value in vets.

During the speech, Jones addressed issues such as the horsemeat scandal, the BVA’s call for clearer welfare labelling measures; dog welfare; and pet travel, where he called for an enquiry into the illegal importing of puppies for sale.

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Commenting on the horsemeat scandal, Jones said: “It goes without saying that everyone has a right to know what’s in the food they eat. The headlines about horsemeat will no doubt continue, but what is already clear is that in a very short space of time the news has undermined confidence in the food chain. And it has called into question the veracity of the horse passport system, which is clearly not fit for purpose.

“We need to look ahead now and agree what we need from the passport system and how we can achieve that – for both animal and human health.”

Chair of the environment, food, and rural affairs (EFRA) committee Anne McIntosh also addressed guests to highlight some of the committee’s recent work and thank the BVA for its input.

Mr Jones touched upon EFRA’s work when he spoke of companion animal issues, as he called on all organisations to get behind the AWF/RSPCA puppy contract when it is reviewed later in the year.

“We are grateful to both DEFRA and the EFRA committee for their support for the puppy contract. When it was launched last year it gained the support of almost all of the major dog welfare organisations. And when it is reviewed this year we very much hope that we can bring everyone on board,” he remarked.

“The key to tackling those ill-advised purchases is education so wouldn’t it be great if we could all sing from the same hymn sheet?”

Jones concluded his speech with a summary of where he feels the veterinary profession is and where he believes it can go.

“In political terms we’re halfway through this Government and I think the veterinary profession – with a strong lead from the BVA – is bringing real value to the policy-making process and having an impact on the decisions being made. Of course we don’t expect to get everything we want, but we won’t be put off trying and we embrace the opportunities to contribute the scientific and evidence-based veterinary viewpoint.”

Image: Anne McIntosh and Peter Jones.

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