BVA president lauds ‘committed’ NI vets
Representatives of the NI veterinary profession, the local farming industry, government agencies and politicians met at Stormont in November for the annual NI dinner hosted by the British Veterinary Association.
The presidentof the British Veterinary Association, Daniella Dos Santos, was in Northern Ireland in November to champion the vital work of vets here and to praise the profession for being as prepared as it can be for the challenges of Brexit.
Ms Dos Santos was addressing more than 80 guests at the annual BVA NI dinner in Stormont. Her audience included MLAs; Northern Ireland’s chief veterinary officer, Robert Huey; key representatives from animal health and welfare organisations and colleagues from across the veterinary profession.
She made her remarks before the outcome of December’s UK general election swept the Tories into a position of power and determined the future direction of travel for Brexit. As such, she referred to the considerable work done in Northern Ireland at all levels to prepare for – and mitigate against – the threats posed by a ‘no deal’ Brexit. And she referred, in particular, to the certification training days organised by DAERA when almost 150 vets were trained for the qualifications they may yet need in order to certify products following a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
‘I see each and every vet who came along as a credit to the workforce and a sterling supporter of Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry,’ the president added.
The president also paid tribute to the ‘incredibly committed’ NI branch of the BVA and in particular, branch president, Aurelie Moralis who, along with her wider team, had achieved ‘a huge amount’ in terms of engaging members on policy and ensuring that the branch had provided a strong voice.Previous Next
Ms Dos Santos used the local event to call for support for BVA’s new manifesto for animals, vets, and public health, which set out 10 pledges for political parties to sign up to ahead of December’s general election, including a call to reject a no-deal Brexit.
She said: “Our pledges range from species-specific improvements, such as a ban on keeping primates as pets, to changes in how legislation is developed and enacted, such as a commitment to uphold animal welfare standards in future trade deals and agricultural policy.
‘We want to see the principle of animal sentience finally pushed over the line and into law, and we want to see animal welfare on the national curriculum to give future generations an early start in understanding what it means to care for animals and ensure they lead a happy, healthy life.’
Later in the speech, Ms Dos Santos praised the cross-sector work underway in Northern Ireland both to research and protect against diseases and to tackle the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance in both animal and human health. Marking the end of World Antibiotic Awareness Week, she added:
‘It has been heartening to see the NI chief medical officer and chief veterinary officer joining forces to help tackle the threat of antimicrobial resistance at both practice and policy level and jointly launch the Northern Ireland five-year action plan at the Balmoral Show this year… I applaud everyone who has worked hard to reduce the risk of AMR and protect our antibiotics for future generations.’
Turning to pet welfare, Ms Dos Santos asked for guests to support BVA’s manifesto call for legislation to be strengthened against illegal imports of puppies for sale.
She said: ‘As a nation of animal lovers, it is simply unacceptable that criminals are still getting away with this cruel and exploitative trade.
‘BVA is really proud to have developed flowcharts that advise our members of the simple steps to spot and report suspected illegal importing of puppies; stay tuned for the Northern Ireland version that launches soon.’
The BVA president ended her speech by thanking BVA Northern Ireland branch for its hard work in the past year, calling branch officers a ‘diverse dream team championing and advocating for the Northern Ireland veterinary community’.