The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons debates the future of the RCVS fellowship
VEGA comments on the proposals to create a new body of vets: surely we already have enough of these memberships, committees and bodies of vets without more gumming up the works. Several years ago, one of our members was given honorary membership of the Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA). It was the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) which had many objections to the VPHA’s interests but at least they shared their requirements for discussing more philosophical aspects of veterinary care. The solution worked well and many examples of uplifting lectures and a jolly time was had at many of the events, with common scientific interests between the two sides.
It was generally known the awards had been given and why. There was no ban on speaking out and they concentrated on the welfare of animals at the time of slaughter, though they were beginning to consider the welfare of all animals in the public eye because the idea of One Health had taken root and the issues involved should include all animals and their treatment on farms. In all conditions, veterinary surgeons must express greater interest and exercise influence.
The member was not a qualified vet, unless you consider medical doctors who treat human animals. Many of the meetings were held in London and other places in congenial circumstances, with hard working members of the animal welfare movement, including the RSPCA.
They were chaired by Christopher Wathes and the informal discussion was useful for both sides. There followed a year or two later a great reorganisation of the FAWC, during which members of the Council, together with members of the trade were co-opted as welfare experts, and the Council was renamed the Farm Animal Welfare Committee.
Amongst these expert advisors were many people of limited experience and the solitary honorary members of the council were lost, together with some veterinary members. Our member received a clock at a meeting in Liverpool in 2009, with a watch and item of jewellery as a mark of the occasion and award. It has not been requested for return and has been kept as a warm memory of several members of the profession.
He did not express opinions during voting on veterinary matters but still joined in their general interest until of course he was lost to know whether he was still an honorary member or not. If you would like the clock, which has been usefully used, to be returned, he would oblige, otherwise, the award remains un-ignored and he was not reminded of the meeting, other than from reading notes in the Veterinary Record. Access to the meetings was removed and there the matter rests at the moment, until the ridiculous situation is reassessed and the situation explained.
He would like to engage in meetings of the present Council, but obviously he cannot do it and he is loath to give up the gift of the association, with a body which renders a help, beneficial to both sides – and to animal welfare matters as well.
We think that a body should be set up to carry out the functions of a veterinary public health association in conjunction with One Health initiatives and we therefore keep the memento of the once glorious days in the general work of the condition of animals in modern methods of farming, slaughter and butchery and hold Professor Wathes and his Committee with due respect. There would be no need to create another body doing the more thoughtful work of a welfare committee devoted to the condition of all animals in various conditions and situations in their lives and in death.
The member in question is a practising vegan of long-standing and generally ate well in meetings of the FAWC.