Statement on the outcome of the EU Referendum

Following a referendum, the majority of the UK has voted to leave the EU.

President of the British Veterinary Association Sean Wensley said:

“The UK’s decision to leave the European Union will have a significant impact on matters of interest to the veterinary profession, particularly in relation to regulation, education, and workforce planning, but also in terms of animal welfare, research, surveillance, and animal movements.

“BVA will work hard to ensure the voice of the veterinary profession is heard during the negotiation and discussions that will now begin, in order to secure the best possible outcomes for our profession and for animal health and welfare in the UK. The Vet Futures report provides an excellent summary of issues we need to consider in those discussions, and the Vet Futures Action Plan, due to be launched at the Vet Futures Summit on 4 July, outlines key initiatives that we need to take forward, albeit with revised timelines while the full impact of Brexit is determined.

“BVA will retain an outward looking and inclusive perspective through our relationships with international partners, including the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), Commonwealth Veterinary Association (CVA) and World Veterinary Association (WVA) to ensure the UK veterinary profession continues to influence and engage on cross border issues such as disease surveillance, veterinary medicines and antimicrobial resistance.”

President of the RCVS, Dr Bradley Viner, added:

“We note that the results of the referendum are to leave the European Union and will now be closely following the negotiations between our Government and the EU.

“These negotiations are expected to take a minimum of two years. It is difficult to say at this stage how the vote will affect current arrangements, such as the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (MRPQ) that allows European vets to practise in the UK and vice-versa, and it is likely to be some time before we know.

“Needless to say, we will be working with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to minimise any disruption from the transition process. As always, we will work to maintain and increase the UK’s high standards of veterinary care and animal welfare.”

Ahead of the referendum BVA produced a BVA briefing document on a wide range of matters of interest to the veterinary profession, including workforce issues and freedom of movement, funding for surveillance, disease eradication and R&D, veterinary medicines, and legislation on animal health and welfare and public health. Although it is expected that there to be a degree of uncertainty on the detail for some time, all of these issues will form part of our discussions.

To help answer queries and concerns, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is compiling a list of frequently asked questions on the impact of the EU referendum for the veterinary profession.


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