Vet Futures survey highlights animal welfare challenge

The need for stronger veterinary leadership on animal welfare issues and the development of a higher profile for vets on animal-related concerns that affect public health are two keys focus areas highlighted by a new Vet Futures survey.

Backed by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the survey found that vets are “generally positive” about the future of the UK veterinary profession, although there are also concerns about working stress levels and a lack of public respect for the profession.

With 59% of vets saying they are either very or fairly optimistic about the profession’s future, the survey was welcomed by BVA President John Blackwell as “heartening” evidence that for many vets the “veterinary glass is half full” rather than half empty.

Asked to name their top goals, to be achieved by 2030, the survey’s 600 respondents selected:

  • Veterinary leadership on animal welfare.
  • Respected and valued role in society.
  • Valued role for vets in education on responsible animal ownership.
  • Higher profile on animal-related issues that affect public health.

Beyond the generally positive tone of the survey’s findings, however, respondents drew attention to the “lack of respect and understanding” they often encounter when working with the general public.

“There is a lot for the veterinary profession to be proud of but the survey shows that vets are concerned the general public doesn’t understand or value the variety of roles we undertake outside clinical practice,” commented RCVS president Stuart Reid. “We have also heard through our guest blog that vets working outside of practice sometimes feel that they are treated as second-class vets.

“Through the Vet Futures project, therefore, RCVS and BVA aim to address this lack of public awareness about the variety of roles undertaken by members of the profession, as well as increase understanding and access to these varied career opportunities amongst the profession.

“We want to enable all veterinary surgeons to not only feel optimistic, but confident in their future.”

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