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Challenges and opportunities discussed at Northern Ireland dinner

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‘NOW is the time for us to shape the future framework for animal health in Europe, because in time it will inevitably shape the way that we as a veterinary profession, and our colleagues in animal health, will work in the years to come.’

So said Peter Harlech Jones, the BVA President, speaking at the Association's annual dinner in Northern Ireland last week. Referring to the development of a new European Animal Health Law, he noted that, unlike previous European legislation, the process of drafting the new law was ‘starting with almost a blank sheet’ and the veterinary profession was being given the opportunity to contribute from the earliest stages of development.

The BVA was also taking a very active role within the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe to help influence the content of a new European veterinary medicines regulation, which was expected in 2013. Mr Jones said: ‘Be in no doubt that it will likely embrace new requirements for the authorisation of medicines, which will impact significantly on the way we use veterinary medicines, notably antimicrobials, in future.’ The Association was working to try to ensure that the new legislation was ‘rooted in science-based assessment and not an over-reliance on disproportionate application of the precautionary principle’.

The dinner, which was held at the Parliament Buildings, Stormont, on November 22, provided an opportunity for the BVA to bring issues of current importance to the veterinary profession to the attention of local politicians and decision makers.

With the theme for his presidential year being ‘vets adding value’, Mr Jones used his speech to highlight some of the many ways in which vets added value for their clients, whether they were pet owners, farmers, governments or the beneficiaries of animal health research.

One area where vets clearly added value was in the …

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