I think that a veterinary surgeon in the House of Commons would be a massive asset regardless of any political allegiances, and I strongly endorse Danny’s campaign to become an MP and put the scientific voice into the House of Commons.

Robin Hargreaves MRCVS - Past BVA President

Let's send a vet to Parliament

As a Council member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, a trustee of a mental health charity, a trustee of an evidence-based medicine charity, and an experienced campaigner on the national stage, I will be a strong advocate for the veterinary community, animal welfare, science and evidence-based policy making. 

The World Health Organisation state that the current threats to global public health include Climate Change, Antimicrobial Resistance, the threat of a global pandemic and vaccine hesitancy. 

In order to tackle these serious issues of our time, I passionately believe that we need more scientists and engineers in Parliament. Not just for their expertise but for how they process and source information, how they engage in constructive debate and come to evidence-based decisions.

There have been hundreds of lawyers and career politicians in the House of Commons, but in comparison there have been very few scientists and engineers.

When our veterinary community works together we have a huge impact on issues such as changing the advertising policies of large companies to prevent the inappropriate use of brachycephalic dogs. 

We could have a much bigger impact by directly influencing laws from within parliament. 

What could a vet in parliament do for our profession? 

A recent poll in the Veterinary Voices UK Facebook group asked which issues vets were most concerned about. Those voted most important were:

  • Animal welfare and food production standards post-Brexit 
  • Non-stunned slaughter 
  • Antimicrobial resistance 
  • Legislation regarding the health of pure bred dogs 
  • The disease risks associated with importing rescue dogs from Eastern Europe 
  • Effect of agriculture on climate change 

The BVA have identified similar priorities in their 'Voice of the Veterinary Profession' surveys.

As a veterinary MP, I will be in a position to hugely influence these issues in Parliament on behalf of all of the veterinary profession.

I am an experienced campaigner having initiated and organised national campaigns around mental health and animal welfare. My campaigning success has led to being interviewed on Radio 4’s The Today Program, Farming Today, Victoria Derbyshire, and many local BBC Radio Stations. My impact on evidence-based medicine was discussed in parliament including at Prime Minister’s Questions. 

I will also advocate on behalf of the profession for issues such as the loss of vets from the profession, suicide and mental health problems within the profession, continuing self-governance, and in the event of the re-opening the Veterinary Surgeons Act. 

How can a Member of Parliament make a difference? 

  • As a veterinary MP, I will be able to influence policy on a broader scale by influencing the making of policy and to stimulate action on matters of importance
  • As a veterinary MP, I will be able to ask questions in Parliament or submit written questions to government ministers. The government is obliged to answer these questions
  • As a veterinary MP, I will be able to lobby the Backbench Business Committee to host a debate in backbench time
  • As a veterinary MP, I can also introduce private member’s bills that could become law

How would having a vet in parliament help with issues of importance to the profession? 

A veterinary MP can be a source of expert advice on matters of animal welfare and agriculture, as well as being able to argue from an informed position on broader scientific issues, since MPs are far less likely to have earned a science degree than an arts or humanities degree.

A veterinary MP could work with official government agencies such as DEFRA/APHA and the Department of Health and Social Services and its executive agencies such as Public Health England and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, as well as non governmental organisations such as the BVA and NFU. 

A veterinary MP could contribute to the ongoing debates on non-stun slaughter and antimicrobial resistance, and have input into animal welfare and food standards which are under threat post-Brexit. He or she could also raise issues not currently on the government radar such as the import of dogs from Eastern Europe, the health of purebred dogs and fertility clinics. Veterinary expertise and input has proven to be hugely relevant when debating the animal welfare and public health standards with respect to post-Brexit trade negotiations.

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