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SVS invites you to talk sheep
  1. Dick Thompson


Dick Thompson describes an initiative which could help recent graduates without too much time on their hands to develop their interest in ovine medicine.

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‘TALKING Sheep’ complements the Sheep Veterinary Society's (SVS) spring and autumn conferences, and aims to accommodate sheep enthusiasts who may not be able to make it to the main meetings.

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Dotted around the country, these – mainly evening – meetings (sponsored by Intervet Schering-Plough) give recent graduates the opportunity to present interesting case histories in an informal, friendly, atmosphere: only an interest in sheep is compulsory!

The idea came from SVS member Fiona Lovatt, who asked the society to run local, informal sheep groups. This has since grown to 13 regional discussion groups. Details have been circulated via the SVS and the BVA's Young Vet Network. Meetings will be clinically based, and involve several short (maximum 15-minute) talks by people within the group, for example, case reports or presentations of new (or modified) procedures that could generate discussion.

It is hoped that other younger members will be suitably encouraged to want to take part next time round (or this time if they are able to volunteer quickly). Anyone who would like to come along should contact the secretariat at the Moredun Research Institute via e-mail,

The first meeting was held on January 18 at the A66 Motel near Scotch Corner, and attracted 25 vets, 15 of whom had qualified within the past five years. Although none of them gave presentations on the evening, most said they would volunteer to do so on similar future occasions.

Speakers at the first Talking Sheep meeting (two of whom admit they are not recent graduates!). From left, Fiona Lovatt of Castle Vets, Barnard Castle; SVS president, Dick Thompson; Deborah Brown, also of Castle Vets; and sheep consultant, Paul Roger

Where to talk sheep

Further details of the other proposed venues are available on the society's website

The next two meetings will be held in Scotland and Wales on February 16 (at the Buccleuch Arms Hotel, St Boswells, and the VLA Shrewsbury), followed by meetings in Carmarthen (February 17); Buxton (February 23) and Penrith (March 10). Others are planned for North Wales, Devon, Preston, Northamptonshire, Wincanton, Hereford and Perth, with dates to be confirmed.

This is intended to be an annual project with meetings in different areas – Northern Ireland has already put in a bid to host the first ‘Talking sheep 2011’. Why not get involved by hosting a meeting, coming along or offering to speak?

■This year's SVS spring meeting takes place in Jersey from May 17 to 19; the autumn meeting will be in Newcastle upon Tyne in September.

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