Northern Ireland’s vets face unique challenges and opportunities as the UK’s Governments plan Brexit.

That was the view expressed by BVA president Gudrun Ravetz during a speech at its annual Northern Ireland dinner on 24 November.

Sincere appreciation

She said: “Many of us were hit by the shock result of the UK’s referendum on EU membership. Northern Ireland, in sharing a land border with an EU member state, is unique in the UK – which is why one of [the BVA’s] first actions… was to write to [the] minister calling for maintenance of the Common Travel Area to facilitate movement for work and study purposes.

“We’d like to express our sincere appreciation to the minister for her reassuring response to our correspondence.”

Key representatives

The BVA’s dinner, hosted by honorary associate Patsy McGlone, was attended by Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) minister Michelle McIlveen, parliamentarians, representatives of animal health and welfare organisations, the agri-food industry, media and senior members of the vet profession.

Addressing the dinner’s 80 guests, Mrs Ravetz continued to outline the BVA’s work since Brexit, including calling for the protection of rights for EU vets and VNs living and working in the UK, establishing a Brexit working group, and holding a meeting to consider specific issues that may arise in Northern Ireland.

Joined-up working

Gudrun Ravetz
Download Gudrun Ravetz’s speech from the BVA’s Northern Ireland dinner (PDF).

On animal health, Mrs Ravetz praised Northern Ireland’s “joined-up working”, which has resulted in the continued progress towards full officially brucellosis-free status, as well as progress on the compulsory bovine viral diarrhoea eradication scheme.

She added: “We hope these examples of effective, industry-government-veterinary working will stand us in good stead as Northern Ireland’s BSE negligible risk status application progresses. Equally, the BVA eagerly awaits the Northern Ireland TB Strategic Partnership report and recommendations.”

On animal welfare, Mrs Ravetz commended Northern Ireland for having led the way in its review of the Welfare of Animals Act (2011), as well as DAERA for effective working with the Department of Justice to put recommendations into practice so quickly.

“With this in mind, we’d ask the recommendations from the Welfare of Animals Act review, that dog breeding establishments are inspected for how they socialise animals, and enhance and enrich their environments, are brought forward and written into regulations as soon as possible,” she said.

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