Vets voice growing concerns over Brexit impact on workforce and welfare

Vets’ views on Brexit are becoming increasingly negative, according to new BVA figures. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of vets now see Brexit as more of a threat than an opportunity for the UK veterinary profession, compared to just half in autumn 2016.

On animal health and welfare half of vets (51%) consider Brexit as more of a threat than an opportunity, compared to just 43% in 2016, according to findings from the BVA Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey panel.

Just as in the general population, younger vets express a more pessimistic outlook on the likely impact of Brexit than older vets, but even amongst the older age groups, the majority now perceive Brexit as more of a threat than opportunity (54% of vets aged 55+, up from 40% in 2016).

Vets working in academia and industry expressed the most concern: 69% of vets in academia and 58% of vets in industry see Brexit as more of a threat to their own area of work than an opportunity. At the other end of the spectrum are vets in Government (46% more of a threat; 17% more of an opportunity) and vets in mixed practice (49% threat; 10% opportunity).

Vets are particularly worried about the impact of Brexit on veterinary recruitment with 53% of respondents saying that the recruitment of veterinary surgeons had become harder since the EU referendum. This has risen dramatically since autumn 2016 when just 18% said the EU referendum had made recruitment of vets harder. More than eight in ten (84%) respondents agree that for the purposes of post-Brexit immigration the veterinary profession should be considered a shortage occupation.

Commenting, BVA President Simon Doherty said: “As the UK Government ramps up its planning for a no-deal scenario, it’s clear that the veterinary profession is becoming increasingly concerned about the potential impact of Brexit.£

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