Government vet Sandra Dunbar was unanimously voted in as the new president of the BVA’s Northern Ireland branch.

The BVA has announced the creation of a new chapter in Northern Ireland and named a government vet as the division’s first president.

BVA past president hands medal of office to Sandra DunbarThe first meeting of the BVA Northern Ireland (NI) branch was held on February 12, 2013, in Belfast, at which delegates unanimously voted Sandra Dunbar as the branch’s first president.

Ms Dunbar, who works for the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development, is joined by new officers Pat Hart as president-elect and Jean Wales as honorary secretary.   

She said: “I’m delighted and honoured to lead the BVA NI branch in its first year, with the help and support of an exceptional officer team and branch council, not to mention the BVA secretariat in London.

“This new mechanism for all the existing associations and veterinary groups, alongside individual BVA members resident in the region, to channel their views and work more effectively together as a whole, will lead to a much stronger voice for the profession on matters of animal health and welfare. I’m looking forward to seeing how it will develop.”

Every BVA member in Northern Ireland automatically becomes a member of BVA NI branch, regardless of their membership of other associations, and the group’s officer team forms part of a larger branch council, which will be made up of representatives covering different areas of expertise.

Speaking at the branch’s inaugural meeting, Northern Ireland chief veterinary officer Bert Houston said the branch would, “further expand the ability of the profession to make their views known even more effectively to Government, the agri-food industry and the public”.

He added: “In the recent past the assistance of the BVA has been provided informally in helping the local associations present the veterinary view to our politicians on such issues as docking of dogs’ tails or microchipping.

“While the profession’s view has not always held sway in the eventual outcomes, it has always been valuable and all the more so when it is able to robustly reflect broad support within the entire profession in the UK.”

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