Wildlife vet and recognised specialist, Romain Pizzi has been elected as President for the BVA Scottish Branch, at its annual general meeting, which was held virtually on Wednesday 19 May.
Working to build wildlife veterinary capacity internationally, he has trained vets from Ethiopia to Indonesia, working with everything from pandas to Polynesian tree snails, as well as with wildlife like eagles and beavers closer to home. Romain pioneered operations such the keyhole surgery removal of diseased gallbladders in moon bears rescued from illegal bile farms in Vietnam, and invented a low-cost 3D imaging method for wild elephants. He has a strong interest in animal welfare and is a member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) Animal Welfare Committee, Trustee for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF), and Junior Vice-President of the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS).
As BVA Scottish Branch President, Romain will help represent all BVA members in Scotland, and bring together specialist and territorial divisions, government, academic institutions, and research organisations across the country.
Romain grew up in South Africa where he also qualified as vet, after he became concerned with the environment and wildlife conservation from a young age. For the past 18 years, he has lived and worked in Scotland, combining his life here with working as a zoo and wildlife vet on wildlife conservation projects around the world. Romain succeeds Kathleen Robertson as BVA Scottish Branch President.
On stepping into his new role, Romain said:
“I am delighted to take on the role of BVA Scottish Branch President. Although my work as a vet takes me around the world, I have made Scotland my home for the last 18 years with my wife and two children. I have worked in a wide variety of roles over the course of my career, and many Scotland-based projects.
“The landscape for veterinary surgeons is changing fast, and as we navigate our way around the global pandemic, the effects of Brexit, and the recent Scottish election, the profession continues to face challenges. From the well-being of members to legislative changes affecting animal health and welfare, there are lots of things that need a strong veterinary voice.
“I’m really looking forward to working with our members and stakeholders to champion our Scottish members’ voice at the most influential levels, on priority animal health and welfare issues, and our life and work within the veterinary profession.”
Offering his congratulations, BVA President, James Russell said:
“I am really pleased to welcome Romain Pizzi to the team as President, and want to extend a warm welcome from us all here at BVA. With his varied and rich career background, I have no doubt that he will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role.
“BVA’s focus has always been on understanding and informing our members and stakeholders about the potential challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, coupled with ensuring that vets have a strong voice in an ever-changing world.
“I would like to take this time to offer my thanks to Kathleen Robertson for her dedication and hard work during her time as President of BVA Scottish Branch. She has worked tirelessly to ensure the profession in Scotland has had as much support as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, from liaising with Scottish Government to understanding how ongoing restrictions may affect veterinary services. Kathleen also represented BVA on the Scottish Government Fireworks Action Review group and gave evidence on the impact of fireworks on animal health and welfare. The group’s final report successfully influenced a change in legislation to restrict the use and sale of fireworks in Scotland. A huge win for animal welfare.
“I know that Romain will continue the important work with government, industry, farmers and our other partners that is key to safeguarding animal health and protecting animal welfare in Scotland.”