BVA Congress 2012 was officially opened by president Carl Padgett at the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool. His presidential address covered the BVA’s achievements and challenges over the past twelve months.

BVA Congress 2012 was officially opened by association president Carl Padgett last night at the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool.

By Gaspa ( [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsSpeaking at the official welcome reception and awards ceremony, Mr Padgett’s presidential address saw him discuss the theme of his year ‘Delivering a Healthy Future‘ and comment on the association’s achievements and challenges over the past twelve months.

He told delegates: “For me the last year has been about cementing some of the progress that has been made in recent years – not just in terms of the many animal health and welfare and public health issues the BVA campaigns on, but also in terms of the health of our association.”

Mr Padgett’s address covered a number of subjects, including bovine TB – particularly the association’s influence in the implementation of a badger cull in England.

He said: “As veterinary scientists we should be proud that our association was ‘pivotal’ in DEFRA’s decision to go ahead with the pilots in the south west.”

2011/2012 BVA president Carl Padgett.Other issues covered in his speech were:

  • The Animal Health and Welfare Board for England – which he referred to as “a bold and fresh approach to policy-making and stakeholder involvement”;
  • Antimicrobial resistance;
  • BVA’s involvement in embedding the responsible use of antimicrobials into the RCVS’ new Professional Code of Conduct;
  • The first anniversary of BVA’s new style council and the success of the the association’s online members’ forum;
  • Welfare at slaughter – particularly the issue of non-stun slaughter; and
  • Dog breeding, microchipping, dangerous dogs legislation and dog welfare in general – on which “BVA and BSAVA have been at the forefront of discussions in Westminster and the devolved administrations throughout the year.”

Mr Padgett also noted the fact that it was “on his watch” that the Schmallenberg virus emerged in the UK and began to “wreak havoc” on farms in the south of England – an occurence that, combined with the AHVLA announcement that veterinary laboratories in England and Wales would be ‘rationalised’, illustrated why a robust surveillance network is critical.

“Vets are the first line of defence against exotic disease protecting animal and human health,” he stressed.

Another significant focus of the past year has also been BVA Congress 2012delivering a healthy future for the association and its members. This focus, in particular, has seen a major piece of research asking members directly what they want from the association.

“Your BVA, Your Say” is the largest membership research project BVA has ever undertaken and we had a fantastic response rate of 27% – considered ‘very robust’ for such exercises.

A summary of the results will be available to members later in the year, but headline figures so far show that members want the BVA to provide good quality, affordable CPD. This, specifically, has been one of the main factors in the decision to move BVA Congress to London Vet Show next year.

Mr Padgett explained: “Moving BVA Congress is a significant step for BVA but one that makes complete sense. […] by partnering with the London Vet Show we believe that we have the opportunity to reach a much greater audience from next year.”

Closing, Mr Padgett said: “We have our difficulties, but as a profession we continue to be held in high regard by our clients, our fellow stakeholders and our policy makers.

“We have the opportunity to shape the future of animal health and welfare and public health and deliver a future where veterinary surgeons continue to have a pivotal role.”

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