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Ten-minute chat
  1. Joe Sprinz

Abstract

Joe Sprinz is a veterinarian in mixed practice. He joined BVA Council as the Royal Counties territorial representative and is now the elected representative for the South East on Council. He lives on a farm in Buckinghamshire with his wife, two rescue cats and a black labrador.

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How did you become involved in veterinary politics?

While I was on a skiing trip to France and in absentia, Chris Trower nominated me to be the Royal Counties BVA rep at the 2005 AGM.

How did you get to where you are today?

I was brought up in Sheffield and Edinburgh. I was educated during the holidays from George Heriot's School and my museum:ice-cream ratio was about 100:1. On leaving school, the Dick Vet beckoned and I graduated in 1978. Working in practice in North Yorkshire was followed by Northumberland, and finally north Oxfordshire. All three practices were mixed, and I remain (hopefully) omnicompetent. I did meat inspection Official Veterinarian training after graduating, which was very much in demand when I moved south.

What does your job involve?

As well as everything that you would expect, I still castrate and disbud calves, manually pregnancy test hundreds of Limousin heifers, thyroidectomise cats, and feminise male cats with urethral obstruction.

What do you like about your job?

Most days involve driving around visiting farmers and clients who are my personal friends. At my branch surgery I have clients and patients with whom I am on first name terms.

What do you not like?

There are not enough hours in the day. I also despise IT that is neither informative nor technological.

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Why is your job important?

Having been in the area for 30 years one becomes part of the (farming) community, the benefits of which include wedding and other social invitations. The downside is being expected to put down a favourite collie whether one is working or not.

What advice would you give to someone considering running for BVA Council or joining a committee?

If I can do the job, so can you … especially with the BVA team behind you; and you can make a difference. For me, I hope that difference will be an improved awareness of the welfare of fish at slaughter.

How does your work for BVA Council fit in with your day job?

I am fortunate to have an understanding practice manager and partner. They feel that my involvement in veterinary politics benefits our practice as well as the profession as a whole.

How you find the BVA's community platform?

Interesting! I have not yet been overwhelmed by responses, but I guess it is early days. Opinions are most welcome; axe-grinding less so. Some people continue to contact me off the forums, and that has been informative for both parties. Please be assured that all observations are read, and if anyone wishes to contact me directly my e-mail address is joevet911@gmail.com; the forum can be accessed at http://community.bva.co.uk

What's the best piece of advice you were ever given?

‘Never take a chance; your chickens will always come home to roost . . . eventually’: Lewis Grant, my first employer.

What was your proudest moment?

Being told at the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam (pictured above) by my ex-Viet Cong guide that I ‘shot that AK47 very well’ and, at this year's BVA Congress, being presented with the John Bleby Cup (also pictured)*.

… and your most embarrassing?

Asking both Jay Kay (Jamiroquai) and Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) at separate times what they did for a living.

Tell us something not many people know about you.

I recently started running, after a gap of many decades, and try to run 10 km once or twice weekly; as yet I still cannot keep up with my wife.

* The John Bleby Cup is presented each year to the member of BVA Council who the Association's Officers feel has made the most outstanding contribution during the year

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