BVA unveils full Congress programme for London Vet Show 2015

02 October 2015

BVA Congress 2015 will include the human-animal bond, veterinary education and global imperatives

We've unveiled our full programme for BVA Congress 2015, which will run during London Vet Show at the Olympia Grand on 19-20 November, with the hot topics of the human-animal bond, veterinary education, global imperatives, professionalism and wellbeing taking centre stage.

The 2015 programme is inspired by the key issues identified in the joint BVA/RCVS initiative Vet Futures with prominent speakers from within and outside the veterinary profession invited to widen the debate.

Vet Futures – where are we going?

Featuring a panel of leading veterinary surgeons, including BVA President Sean Wensley, who will debate the findings of the Vet Futures report, which will be launched at the Show. Chaired by AVS President Helena Diffey, the panel will explore the challenges and opportunities to shape the future of the profession and explore where we go from here.

The human-animal bond

The human-animal bond is given the spotlight at Congress, with sessions on the Human-animal bond: all take no give? highlighting the enormous health and welfare benefits of pets and questioning if humans are upholding their part of the bargain. In the Wooldridge Memorial Lecture – Our imaginary pets Dr John Bradshaw, author of bestsellers “Dog Sense/In Defence of Dogs” and “Cat Sense”, argues why anthropomorphism is both essential and disastrous for our relationship with pet dogs and cats. Whose animal is it anyway? Should the government tell us what pets to keep? focuses on the rise in popularity of non-traditional companion animals and asks if it is really the government's role to tell us what species we can and cannot keep, with an update on the Scottish Government's review of the trade and importation of exotic animals as pets.

Global imperatives

Two BVA Congress sessions put vets at the heart of global issues in a changing world. Vets in a climate change world: is animal welfare being forgotten? asks if veterinary surgeons are part of the problem or part of the solution in tackling climate change and discusses what the often overlooked implications are for animal welfare. As we hear from the British Medical Association about its campaign to reduce meat consumption, What's the role of the vet in a world that eats less meat? challenges the idea that consumers eating less meat is bad news for vets, exploring if this is an opportunity for large animal vets to champion animal welfare with consumers and farm clients.

Friday's Congress programme

Friday's Congress programme starts with a debate around the contentious question Is professionalism dead?, considering the changing responsibilities and role of veterinary surgeons and debating how veterinary surgeons can maintain their status in their communities in a society that no longer defers to the professions. Next generation: one size veterinary education might not fit all explores what role new vet schools could have in introducing new thinking to the training of our next generation of vets. Too much, too young: mental health and wellbeing in the veterinary profession and beyond will explore if the mental health and wellbeing issues experienced by veterinary surgeons and veterinary students are unique or part of a wider problem of increasing pressure experienced by high achievers. Colonel Neil Smith, Chair of the RCVS' Mind Matters initiative, will be joined by renowned political historian and education commentator, Sir Anthony Seldon. The session will include an update on RCVS' Mind Matters initiative.

BVA President Sean Wensley said:

“This is an exceptional programme that will examine issues of critical importance for the veterinary profession and for our wider and future role in society. I would encourage all vets to make room in their busy London Vet Show schedule to attend some or all of BVA Congress and be part of these discussions. The BVA sessions are open to all London Vet Show attendees, not just BVA members, and they count towards CPD. Keeping up-to-date with clinical advances is, of course, essential for practising vets, but shaping the social and political environments we work in is also of huge importance in our fast changing world. We need an active, engaged profession to take the lead on issues affecting animal welfare, global challenges and our daily professional lives. This is your chance to hear inspiring speakers and contribute to debates on topics that matter to us all.”

London Vet Show will open with a welcome from Sean Wensley first thing on Thursday 19 November.

In addition to BVA Congress, we have also programmed world-class clinical streams on farm animals for mixed practitioners, and have partnered with the British Equine Veterinary Association to run an equine stream. The popular BVA Career Development Stream will help delegates who are looking to take the next step in their veterinary careers, and those who want to improve their communication skills and understand how to deal with stress.

BVA Congress is open to all attendees at the London Vet Show. BVA members get access to the full BVA offering, as well as the usual London Vet Show programme, for 15% less than the lowest advertised price. To book simply enter your BVA membership number and the code BVA14 to claim your discount when you book online at

To find out more about BVA at the London Vet Show or to get involved in the conversation online use #VetShow

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