Letter calls for urgent action to avoid vet shortfall
More than 20 Welsh Assembly Members (AMs) have signed an open letter to environment secretary Michael Gove outlining concerns about Brexit and its impact on the Welsh veterinary workforce.
A total of 29 AMs – more than 60 per cent of non-ministerial members – have rallied together to ask Mr Gove to take urgent action to get vets reinstated on the Shortage Occupation List.
It comes amid increasing concerns that Wales could see a serious shortfall of vets when Britain leaves the European Union. RCVS figures show that one in five vets in Wales is a non-UK EU national and this figure rises to 100 per cent for Official Veterinarians.
Plaid Cymru AM and BVA Honorary Associate Llyr Gruffydd has been at the forefront of rallying other assembly members to support the campaign. He said: “We’re asking Michael Gove to support BVA’s call to reinstate vets on the Shortage Occupation List, to ensure that we avoid a potentially problematic shortfall in capacity post-Brexit.
“There is a very real danger that, without positive action, the food chain will be left exposed to an increased risk of food fraud and animal welfare breaches at a time when it has never been more imperative to preserve high levels of consumer confidence in UK produce, both at home and overseas.”
Sarah Carr, BVA Welsh Branch President, said: “The fact that so many Assembly Members from a mix of parties have signed this letter shows that there is significant and unified recognition of the valuable contribution that vets make in Wales, along with understanding of the need to support and champion the profession in the challenging times ahead.
“We’re immensely grateful to Llyr for his continued support, as well as all the other assembly members who have added their voice to call for urgent action to ensure that the workforce can operate at full strength over the coming years.”