Paving the way for British Veterinary Union - Veterinary Practice
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Paving the way for British Veterinary Union

Dr SHAMS MIR reports on the next stages in the development of the BVU

“YOU’D have to have been hiding
under a rock not to have noticed the
debate in these pages
and elsewhere about
a veterinary union,”
said Nicky Paull,
then president of
BVA, in the August
2009 issue of this

The debate didn’t
end there, it has
continued unabated
ever since the idea of
a union was launched
in June 2008 and it is
constantly gaining

developments like the
move towards a possible
strike action by vets working in the
meat inspection area late last year and
the recent dismay expressed by vets
working for DEFRA’s TB testing
programme for the BVA’s failure to
secure an increase in their payments are
adding new dimensions to the debate.


It is not unlikely that those watching
this debate as bystanders, not feeling
directly addressed by the content of
the discussion, might see it as
continuing endlessly. But those vets
and nurses who have pinned their
hopes to the proposed new
organisation, who for obvious reasons
cannot come forward to assist,
appreciate that transforming an idea
into a reality under such circumstances
is a challenging process.

However, while the discussion has continued, the idea of the union has
already transformed into a movement.

The inception of
Vets4BVU as a
organisation of the
proposed British
Veterinary Union
(BVU) in June last year
followed by the
creation of the
Vets4BVU Steering
Group (SG) a month
later were significant
steps forward.
veterinary nurses into
Vets4BVU was yet
another major leap
forward, widening the remit of the organisation.
The SG continued to expand and

by now it has nine highly dedicated
members, consisting of six veterinary
surgeons (four employed vets including
one new graduate and two employers)
and three veterinary nurses.

The dedication of the members of
the SG, particularly of those members
who for fear of reprisals cannot
disclose their identity in public, is a
testimony to the validity of the cause
they stand for.

The meeting of the SG with the
president of BVA, Professor Bill Reilly,
and his team in November last year at
Bristol was a landmark for Vets4BVU
in that not only did it end the perceived
elusiveness of the movement but also
ended up pushing the organisation over
the crossroads.

While the discussion in the
veterinary print and electronic media is going on and must continue to
facilitate the emergence of a new
organisation based on consensus rather
than division, Vets4BVU is taking
concrete steps to pave the way for
setting up of the proposed union in
the near future.

In order for the proposed union to
truly emerge from grassroots level of
the profession and for
involving every single
supporting veterinary
surgeon and nurse into
the process of
developing the new
organisation, the SG is
preparing to facilitate all
vets and nurses to join
as members of
Vets4BVU as a non-
incorporated, non-profit making

Pertinent information

For this purpose, Vets4BVU will
shortly launch its own website, which
will serve as a source of pertinent
information for the wider profession,
enable vets and nurses to register
online, provide a forum for the
members to discuss issues of mutual
interest, enable the SG to run
consultation exercises and to conduct
online polls as necessary.

Furthermore, Vets4BVU will make
its first national level appearance
through its representation at the
BSAVA congress exhibition in
Birmingham next month. Our stand in the main arena is intended to bring
home the Vets4BVU campaign to
thousands of vets and nurses, provide
them the relevant information, enable
them to contribute their views and
facilitate their registration as members.
The membership will be free. However,
the website will provide the possibility
of making voluntary donations.

We urge all
veterinary professionals – vets
and nurses working in
different fields of the
profession, retired vets
and nurses, and
veterinary students –
who feel that the
profession needs an
organisation dedicated to look after the welfare of vets and
nurses as professionals and as
personnel both at individual and
collective levels, to please take the
trouble of registering themselves as
members of Vets4BVU so that we can
together pave the way for laying the
foundations of the proposed British
Veterinary Union.

As we extend the invitation of
joining Vets4BVU to the wider
profession, it is important to reiterate
that our policy of confidentiality
regarding members will strictly be
maintained as long as the membership
does not decide otherwise.

For your suggestions and queries,
we welcome readers to contact us by
e-mail on

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