New one-day virtual conference for vets lifts the lid on animal welfare casework and veterinary forensics - Veterinary Practice
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New one-day virtual conference for vets lifts the lid on animal welfare casework and veterinary forensics

BVA and SSPCA join together to offer a conference day of virtual and interactive learning about veterinary forensics and how vets can use their skills to support animal welfare investigations

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) are joining forces to offer vets a day of virtual and interactive learning about veterinary forensics and how they can best use their skills to support animal welfare investigations.

Those attending the one-day virtual conference, which is free to BVA members, will hear from experienced vets and animal welfare experts on how to approach animal welfare investigations and participate in virtual workshops on presenting evidence. Delegates will also gain insights into how to spot possible links between animal abuse and domestic violence. The event is kindly sponsored by Petplan.

The conference on 10 December kicks off with an interactive session giving an introduction to veterinary forensics and casework led by SSPCA Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Futter and Head of Education, Policy and Research Gilly Mendes Ferreira. Delegates will then hear from the RSPCA’s Senior Clinician Vanessa Whitfield and Group Animal Welfare Adviser at IVC Evidensia David Martin, on how to report cases of suspected animal cruelty and neglect and what vets’ obligations are under the law.

In the afternoon, delegates can enjoy a presentation delivered by Paula Boyden from the Links Group and Professor Jo Williams from the University of Edinburgh on the latest research into recognising non-accidental injury, followed by a session led by Vetlife’s Rosie Allister considering approaches to managing psychological challenges in emotionally demanding work.

Romain Pizzi, BVA’s Scottish branch president, is co-chairing the day alongside Ian Futter, chief veterinary officer at the SSPCA. He said: “We’re delighted to be teaming up with the Scottish SPCA to give vets a comprehensive lowdown on what is a complex and crucial area of work. The day’s speakers offer a wealth of expertise and experience on veterinary forensics and animal welfare casework, which will leave delegates well equipped with the skills and means to support animal welfare investigations in the best way they can. 

“Domestic violence, as well as tips on how to protect your own well-being when carrying out this vital but often emotionally demanding work. I highly recommend that members book their free place for what will be an insightful and informative day.”

Ian Futter said: “Sadly a large number of the animals that come into our care are as a result of cruelty or neglect. In order to secure successful convictions we need veterinary professionals to feel confident giving evidence.

“Our conference aims to highlight the importance of veterinary input in these cases. By working together with enforcement agencies like the Scottish SPCA, the veterinary profession can help fight animal cruelty in Scotland.

“We want to build confidence around being involved in animal cruelty cases, particularly for those who are newly qualified in the field. Our conference aims to remove any doubt about the process and showcase the reality of being a professional witness in animal cruelty cases.”

James Barnes from Petplan said: “Petplan is proud to have been working with the veterinary profession and animal charities for over 40 years to help improve the welfare of animals. We provide unrivalled support and training for animal charity staff and volunteers and in 2020 we gave over £4.7 million to animal charities who work in partnership with us to help support the work of rescue centres.” 

The conference will be hosted by The Webinar Vet and costs £35 plus VAT for non-BVA members.  Delegates can choose to attend all or part of the day, which runs from 9:00am to 4:30pm. Recordings will also be available to delegates after the event. BVA members can look on their BVA Member Dashboard under “My Discounts” for their BVA coupon code for a free place. To view the full programme and book a place, please visit the conference page on The Webinar Vet website.

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