Writing a veterinary wish list for the next Government... - Veterinary Practice
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InFocus

Writing a veterinary wish list for the next Government…

Professor BILL REILLY president of the BVA, wants thought given to the issues which should take priority

“NO Government will give
Parliamentary time for new
legislation on dangerous dogs.”

This was the message heard loud
and clear by the BVA at one of our
twice-yearly
Parliamentary
briefings, held in the
House of Commons
in November.

Members of both
Houses and from all
of the three main
parties were united in
the view that with the
credit crunch to
handle and military
conflicts to fund, no
matter who wins the
next General Election
there is no chance of
new legislation to
control the growing
problem of “status
dogs”.

Obviously this is deeply
disappointing. Repeal and reform of
the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is
something that the BVA has been
campaigning for, alongside other
organisations, since the law was first
introduced. But not only is it
disappointing on this individual issue;
it is a sober reminder that our
collective priorities as a profession will
not always be the priorities of our
political masters.

But should that stop us making the
case for new policies, new laws and the repeal of existing ones? If it is what
matters to us, our clients and the
animals in our care: of course not.

So as we begin 2010, safe in the
knowledge that this year there will be a
new Government, with a new Secretary of
State and new
Ministers, I think we
should give some
thought to the issues
we would like to see
taking priority.

We have to be
realistic. In the current
economic climate,
expensive policies are
a no-no and if we’re
being told that no political party will give
Parliamentary time to
a particular issue then
we need to accept that fact.
But we can be ambitious too and we must target our resources in the
most effective way to get the results
we want.

Important levers

The veterinary profession pulls two
very important levers when it comes
to getting politicians to take notice.

Animal welfare is a hugely
popular issue amongst the British
public (i.e. the electorate) and our
many millions of clients (pet owners,
farmers and government agencies)
hold us in high regard and will want to see our issues given serious
consideration.

Through briefings and meetings,
the BVA is already feeding in
thoughts and opinions to the front
bench teams of each party on some
of the big issues of today, but there
may be other issues that you feel
strongly about and we want to hear
those ideas.

Discussion forum

The BVA’s charity, the Animal
Welfare Foundation (AWF), is in the
process of finalising the programme
for the 2010 Discussion Forum.

This event is rapidly becoming an
important fixture in the welfare calendar. This year the AWF is
focusing one of the debates on
political priorities, asking: “What one
thing would you want to see on the
Minister’s desk?”

It should provoke some very
spirited debate as experts argue the
case for their issue to be number one.

So I’d like to hear your views. I
can’t promise that the BVA will be
able to take up every cause, but if
together we can draw up a veterinary
wish-list for the next Government,
we can focus our resources and make
significant inroads into better animal
and human health and welfare, more
effective and less bureaucratic
regulation, and even recognition of
the need for increased research and
innovation.

Please let me know your thoughts
on bvahq@bva.co.uk.

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