Dr Anna Judson, President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), has called for significant legislative changes to support the veterinary profession amidst ongoing challenges.

Speaking at the BVA’s annual Scottish Dinner in the Scottish Parliament, Dr Judson addressed various issues affecting vets in Scotland and emphasised the need for reforms to ensure animal welfare and the future of the veterinary field.

Dr Judson highlighted the resilience of vets in Scotland in the face of challenges such as avian influenza threats, the surge in Bluetongue virus cases, and the impact of the XL Bully ban on vet practices. She also addressed the intense pressure on vet teams due to negative media coverage surrounding the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into the UK’s veterinary services market.

Call for Legislative Reforms

Regarding the CMA review, Dr Judson reiterated BVA’s support for healthy competition and informed consumer choice. She emphasised the importance of accurate reporting, also expressing concern over the portrayal of vets in the media. BVA aims to address this issue and promote transparency in vet practices to improve client understanding and trust.

Dr Judson called for reforms to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 to better reflect the modern veterinary profession. She advocated for legal recognition of veterinary nurses and regulation of veterinary practices to ensure animal welfare and accountability. Additionally, she urged for a comprehensive overhaul of dangerous dogs legislation, moving towards breed-neutral laws focused on responsible ownership and training.

“Alongside our work to support the veterinary profession through these bans, we are continuing to press the UK Governments, in Scotland working alongside MSPs, for a complete overhaul of the dangerous dogs legislation,” she said. “Breed specific legislation as enshrined in the Dangerous Dogs Act is ineffective and hard to enforce. It must be replaced with breed neutral legislation which deals with aggression in all dogs, and has responsible dog ownership and training at its core. Only then can we properly protect the public.”

Despite challenges, Dr Judson sees opportunities for positive change. She urged political parties to prioritise legislative reforms and thanked BVA Scottish Branch colleagues for their support.