According to a new briefing from the British Veterinary Association, a no deal Brexit will exacerbate current shortages and create significant risks for trade, animal health and welfare, and food safety.
In a recent survey of the profession, nearly two thirds (64%) of vets felt that Brexit was more of a threat than an opportunity for the veterinary profession and nearly nine out of ten (88%) are concerned about the potential lack of veterinary capacity to undertake certification post-Brexit.
The veterinary profession is already experiencing shortages and recent figures from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) show that 32 per cent of non-UK EU veterinary surgeons are considering a move back home and 18 per cent are actively looking for work outside the UK, indicating Brexit will exacerbate these shortages.
Exiting the EU and its surveillance systems could restrict access to medicines, the range of systems and organisations that safeguard the public and animals, as well as the purposes of trade, pet travel and animal movement.
British Veterinary Association President, Simon Doherty, said:
“With the prospect of a no deal Brexit looming large, huge question marks remain over what will replace the EU systems and legislation that have hitherto been central to our standards in animal health and welfare, food safety and trade. We still have major concerns over the potential increase in export health certification and whether we will have the veterinary capacity to meet these demands. Indeed, the combination of Brexit deterring non-UK EU vets from working in the UK and the increased pressures on the veterinary workforce calls for immediate measures to be taken, and we are urging the government to place vets on the shortage occupation list.
He then stated the importance fo government and veterinary professionals engaging and working together when it comes to matters that affect their work.
"We are proud of our profession and the meticulous care with which we uphold standards and any post-Brexit systems or procedures must allow us to maintain our responsibilities to public health and animal health and welfare. As always, we are keen to work with the government to ensure that we are as fully prepared as possible for what a no deal Brexit holds.
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Read the BVA briefing here