Four out of five (84%) of UK vets give their time and expertise at a reduced rate, according to a BVA survey.

vet and labrador
84% of UK vets provide services for charities at a reduced fee. Image: zinkevych / Fotolia.

The organisation also found two out of five UK vets work unpaid with animal charities and rehoming centres to treat thousands of abandoned, mistreated or injured animals each year.

The charitable contributions to animal welfare are being spotlighted as this year’s Volunteer’s Week gets underway tomorrow (1 June) until 12 June.

Charity begins…

The contributions vets make to help animals are highlighted with results drawn from the Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey by the BVA, which asked UK vets about the arrangements they have with charities.

The results showed:

  • 72% have formal agreements with charities to provide veterinary services at a reduced fee, with the figure rising to 84% when including less formal arrangements.
  • 43% of vets do unpaid work for animal charities or other animal welfare organisations.

Charitable activities varied from practice to practice and vets and veterinary nurses often work with local animal rehoming centres and national animal charities to provide a range of pro bono or reduced fee services, such as health checking, medicating and treating, neutering and vaccinating.

Other activities

According to the survey, veterinary professionals also undertake various other charitable activities:

Many vets volunteer overseas.
Many vets volunteer overseas for charities like the Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS).
  • Many vets and VNs give up their time providing veterinary care at animal rescue and rehoming centres to improve the health and welfare of animals in need.
  • Many practices provide veterinary advice to homeless people and those in housing crises, and care for their dogs as part of the Dogs Trust Hope Project. Vets also support other projects, such as the Freedom Project, which temporarily fosters animals belonging to families fleeing domestic violence.
  • Vets help reduce the numbers of unwanted and neglected pets – and improve animal welfare – by teaming up with charities, some of which provide neutering vouchers to owners on limited incomes.
  • More than 300 veterinary practices undertake work for PDSA, providing treatment to animals of owners on means-tested benefits.
  • Vets never turn away an unowned or wild animal needing emergency treatment. When a person finds a sick or injured stray or wild animal, vets will always provide necessary treatment and may receive a charitable contribution towards the cost of it.
  • Many vets volunteer overseas.

Countless stories

BVA president Sean Wensley said: “Behind these statistics are countless stories of veterinary teams – who already often work long, demanding hours – giving their time for free to support animal rescue staff and charities to care for abandoned, injured and neglected animals, as well as help owners to keep and care for much-loved animals in times of hardship and crisis.

“The UK’s network of animal charities and rehoming centres do a fantastic job protecting wild and domestic animals each year.

“Animal welfare legislation is clear animal keepers and owners are responsible for meeting their animals’ needs, and prospective animal owners must be aware of the cost and time commitment involved in animal ownership.

“But we appreciate people’s circumstances can change and vets volunteering their time and expertise contributes not only to animal health and welfare, but also to human well-being and our communities.”

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