By British Veterinary Association president, Justine Shotton

We start the new year in a challenging position, with the triple whammy of Covid-19, Brexit and Avian Influenza continuing to put pressure on an already-stretched veterinary profession. However, we hope 2022 brings better, more positive tidings all around.

The theme for my presidential year is sustainability, so there’ll also be lots of exciting work on the sustainability front, including a focus on sustainable agriculture and developing BVA’s position on sustainable aquaculture. We will feed the recommendations from the latter into the Scottish Government’s upcoming review of aquaculture regulations.

We will continue to engage with the farming community to explore opportunities for delivering improved animal health and welfare outcomes in 2022. BVA is playing a key role in the design and delivery of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway equivalent in the devolved nations. We are also developing positions on confinement systems for production animals and on facilitating trade while maintaining high health and welfare standards. We will continue to lobby UK Government for these standards to be upheld in any future trade deals, make sure that proposals for livestock welfare during transport are workable for rural and remote areas like the Highlands and Islands, and also monitor progress on sentience law in Scotland.

This work is all happening under the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and workforce shortages, which will continue to be key areas of focus for BVA. We are committed to continue to champion our Good Workplaces to support retention in the profession and work with stakeholders to ensure a diverse and resilient recruitment of new veterinary professionals.