Burgess Pet Care confirms the judging panel for the Burgess Excel Vet Awards 2021, which were established to celebrate the hard work and dedication of rabbit-friendly practices, vets and nurses across the UK.
The panel, which features a selection of industry experts, veterinary professionals and rabbit specialists, comprises:
- Suzanne Moyes, MVB, MRCVS, veterinary director at Burgess Pet Care and spokesperson for the Rabbit Awareness Action Group (RAAG) and Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW)
- Rae Walters, director of the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF), the UK’s largest rabbit welfare charity
- John Chitty, BVetMed, CertZooMed, MRCVS, co-director of a small animal/exotics practice in Andover and outgoing president of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) 2017/2018
- Dani Sewell, MICPR, communications director at Fred Marketing, a full-service marketing agency specialising in the pet/animal welfare sector and delivering strategic communications for RAAG and RAW
Following the successful launch of the Awards last year, four new categories have been added to the list for 2021:
- Rabbit Vet of the Year, open to all practising UK veterinary surgeons
- Rabbit Vet Nurse of the Year, open to all practising veterinary nurses in the UK
- Rabbit-friendly Veterinary Practice of the Year, open to all practices on the RWAF rabbit friendly list
- Best Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) Campaign of the Year
- Rabbit Support Staff of the Year, new category
- Rabbit Student of the Year, new category
- Rabbit-friendly Charity Practice of the Year, new category
- Guinea Pig-friendly Veterinary Practice of the Year, new category
The judging panel will be responsible for determining which individuals and organisations will be deemed winners across all categories. They will be looking for evidence of exceptional knowledge of rabbit care and husbandry, as well as continued commitment to educating the public on how to care for rabbits correctly. The judges will apply the same criteria when choosing a winner of the new category, “Guinea Pig-friendly Practice of the Year”.
Suzanne Moyes said: “Our work for RAW, and more recently RAAG, has provided a unique opportunity to gain insight into the positive impact veterinary practices can have on rabbit welfare. Research shows that while awareness of rabbits’ welfare is improving, it remains the case that too many rabbit owners are neglecting the welfare needs of their pets and education is key to addressing this.
“Many vets and vet nurses will have first-hand experience of encountering rabbits in practice that present with easily avoidable illnesses or diseases. As a profession, if we spend more time engaging with and educating pet owners on how to meet their rabbits’ key welfare needs, we can help to ensure these creatures can lead happy and healthy lives.”
John Chitty, co-director of Anton Vets in Andover said: “Rabbits’ popularity has only increased during the pandemic, but sadly they remain one of the most neglected pets, and there are far too many with nutritional and husbandry related issues.
“Both rabbits and guinea pigs have complex and very specific welfare needs, so we will be looking for practices and individuals who show commitment to meeting their particular needs and their efforts throughout the year to engage with, and educate, owners.
“The Burgess Excel Vet Awards will help to shine a light on the importance of understanding and meeting the particular needs of rabbits and guinea pigs. Doing so benefits them and also the veterinary practices that are taking care of them too, as research shows that owners will seek out practices specialising in rabbit and guinea pig care.”
The winners will be announced on 11 November at the London Vet Show 2021. One winner from each category will receive a trophy and cash prize of £250.