Vets voice growing concerns over Brexit impact on workforce and welfare

19 December 2018

Simon Doherty says concerns over Brexit are increasing

Vets' views on Brexit are becoming increasingly negative,
according to new BVA figures. Nearly
two-thirds (64%) of vets now see Brexit as more of a threat than an opportunity
for the UK veterinary profession, compared to just half in autumn 2016.

On animal health and welfare half of vets (51%) consider
Brexit as more of a threat than an opportunity, compared to just 43% in 2016,
according to findings from the BVA Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey

Just as in the general population, younger vets express a
more pessimistic outlook on the likely impact of Brexit than older vets, but
even amongst the older age groups, the majority now perceive Brexit as more of
a threat than opportunity (54% of vets aged 55+, up from 40% in 2016).

Vets working in academia and industry expressed the most
concern: 69% of vets in academia and 58% of vets in industry see Brexit as more
of a threat to their own area of work than an opportunity. At the other end of
the spectrum are vets in Government (46% more of a threat; 17% more of an
opportunity) and vets in mixed practice (49% threat; 10% opportunity).

Vets are particularly worried about the impact of Brexit on
veterinary recruitment with 53% of respondents saying that the recruitment of
veterinary surgeons had become harder since the EU referendum. This has risen
dramatically since autumn 2016 when just 18% said the EU referendum had made
recruitment of vets harder. More than eight in ten (84%) respondents agree that
for the purposes of post-Brexit immigration the veterinary profession should be
considered a shortage occupation.

Commenting, BVA President Simon Doherty said: “As the UK Government ramps up its planning for a no-deal scenario,
it's clear that the veterinary profession is becoming increasingly concerned
about the potential impact of Brexit.

“Top of vets' list of concerns is significant veterinary
workforce shortages across critical areas of animal welfare and public health. Veterinary
concerns around animal welfare have also increased as the Government continues
to stall on introducing new legislation to enshrine animal sentience in UK law
before March.

“From pet passports and food safety, to disease surveillance
and trade certification, there is no area of veterinary work that is not
touched by Brexit. So, we can fully understand why our members are worried
about the future. BVA will continue to raise these important veterinary issues
with policymakers to ensure the profession is considered as Brexit discussions

The BVA briefings on “Brexit
and the veterinary profession” and “No
deal Brexit and the veterinary profession” set out all of the issues of
interest in more detail.