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UK veterinary groups and schools react to Brexit

“The UK’s decision to leave the European Union will have a significant impact on matters of interest to the veterinary profession.”

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With the UK voting to leave the European Union, how will it affect the veterinary community?

President of the British Veterinary Association, Sean Wensley, had this to say in a statement:

“The UK’s decision to leave the European Union will have a significant impact on matters of interest to the veterinary profession, particularly in relation to regulation, education, and workforce planning, but also in terms of animal welfare, research, surveillance, and animal movements.

BVA will work hard to ensure the voice of the veterinary profession is heard during the negotiation and discussions that will now begin, in order to secure the best possible outcomes for our profession and for animal health and welfare in the UK. The Vet Futures report provides an excellent summary of issues we need to consider in those discussions, and the Vet Futures Action Plan, due to be launched at the Vet Futures Summit on 4 July, outlines key initiatives that we need to take forward, albeit with revised timelines while the full impact of Brexit is determined.

BVA will retain an outward looking and inclusive perspective through our relationships with international partners, including the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), Commonwealth Veterinary Association (CVA) and World Veterinary Association (WVA) to ensure the UK veterinary profession continues to influence and engage on cross border issues such as disease surveillance, veterinary medicines and antimicrobial resistance.”

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons released a statement, saying:

“We note that the results of the referendum are to leave the European Union and will now be closely following the negotiations between our Government and the EU.

These negotiations are expected to take a minimum of two years. It is difficult to say at this stage how the vote will affect current arrangements, such as the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (MRPQ) that allows European vets to practise in the UK and vice-versa, and it is likely to be some time before we know.

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Needless to say, we will be working with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to minimise any disruption from the transition process.  As always, we will work to maintain and increase the UK’s high standards of veterinary care and animal welfare.”

The University of Glasgow, which includes the School of Veterinary Medicine, also released a statement. Principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Anton Muscatelli, had this to say:

“Yesterday’s referendum resulted in a narrow but clear decision for the UK to leave the European Union. This is not the result that I had personally hoped for, but I want you to know that nothing will change overnight.

There will be many months of negotiations under the EU treaties, and indeed there is no clarity yet on when negotiations will begin. There will be significant opportunities for the University of Glasgow to seek assurances and influence future policy, both as an institution in our own right and as a member of organizations such as the Russell Group, Universities UK and Universities Scotland.

EU Students who have been made an offer for 2016 (or 2017 deferred entry) will be unaffected. Given the complexity of exit negotiations it is unlikely that the current process and funding arrangements will change significantly in the short term. We are therefore encouraging those who are considering applying for 2017 entry to do so in the usual way, and we will keep all applicants informed if there are changes in policy.

I want to emphasize to my colleagues and to our students from the EU just how much this University values your contribution to our community. You are a vital and essential part of our University. The University of Glasgow was founded in the European tradition, and nothing will change our international outlook, which will continue to look to Europe for our academic collaborations.”

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The University of London, which includes the Royal Veterinary College, had this to say:

“As a globally connected university, the University of London has a long tradition of welcoming students and staff from the European Union and across the world.

The outcome of the referendum will not alter this and we will continue to welcome students, staff and visitors from the EU and beyond.  There will be no immediate impact on the immigration status of any applicant, student or staff member of the University.

At this stage it is impossible to gauge the longer term impact of the outcome of our EU connections in the fields of research or other collaborations.  It is likely that there will be a two year negotiation process between the UK and the other member states, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit will be determined.”

Professor Max Lu, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Surrey — which has its School of Veterinary Medicine —  said:

“Following the UK electorate’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), I know that people will have a lot of questions, many of which we cannot easily answer today. However, in the short-term there will not be any immediate material change to the immigration status of current and prospective staff and students, nor to the way the UK University sector participates in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus.

Over the weeks and months ahead, we will work with Universities UK (UUK) and other bodies as the Government decides the way forward. UUK has advised that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided. We will work to ensure staff and students are kept fully informed of all these developments.

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The University of Surrey has a proud heritage of working with the wider European Community and embracing all the positive aspects that brings, be they economic, cultural or ideological. We will continue to work with and support students and staff from the EU. Their contribution to the University community and society as a whole is invaluable.”

If you are a veterinary professional in the UK, how will Brexit affect you? Let us know in the comments.

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