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Full English or continental? Brexit and other developments in 2016

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BREXIT: no one seems to have used the term until 2012, but by the end of June 2016 it was the most searched for word in online dictionaries worldwide. The vote to leave the EU in the UK's referendum on EU membership on June 23 took many by surprise, not least the UK Government which, it soon became clear, had made no preparations for that outcome. It certainly brought the word Brexit to the fore, but it remains worrying that, six months later, no one, including the Government, seems to have any clear idea about what Brexit will mean. The debate, if you can call it that, continues, although largely behind closed doors, and whether we will end up with a full English Brexit or a more continental version remains to be seen.

Vets, along with everyone else, will be affected by Brexit, but because of the wide range of roles they fulfil in relation to animal health and welfare and public health, and because much of this activity is governed by EU legislation, they could be affected more than most. Much will depend on how the negotiations are handled. However, the decision to leave will inevitably have an impact on many aspects of veterinary endeavour, whether in relation to farm and companion animal health and welfare, disease surveillance, food safety and public health, or veterinary education and research. It could also have implications for the availability of veterinary medicines and the position of EU agencies and disease reference laboratories currently located in the UK.

In July, the BVA, having drawn attention to some of these issues before the referendum, announced that it was setting up a working group to help identify the profession's priorities during Brexit while the RCVS, for its part, announced that it had established a Brexit …

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