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Veterinary Record has been serving the profession since 1888. A valuable source of information, research and advice for vets, it is a prestigious title and I'm thrilled to be its new editor.
Veterinary medicine is a new subject area for me – like most journalists writing for a professional audience, I don't have a background in that profession myself – but I have a strong background in health journalism and I'm very keen to learn and interrogate your world and the issues that affect you, your patients and clients.
The Veterinary Record editorial team is experienced, skilled and enthusiastic. One of the clearest messages they have given me in my first few days is that they are proud to work for a title that supports your important work in securing the health and welfare of animals but also in tackling major challenges for society, such as dealing with antimicrobial resistance.
So what changes are ahead? The answer to that is it depends on you. Veterinary Record is your magazine – owned by the BVA, its duty is to serve members' interests.
It's important that the journal is connected with its readers and reflects their interests and needs. As William Hunting promised in the journal's first edition on July 14, 1888: ‘We shall endeavour always to keep abreast of what is wanted . . . we shall spare no effort in the attempt to extract from practitioners, clinical reports of all their most interesting and instructive cases.’
So please do get in touch and tell me what you'd like to see more – or less – of and what we should be investigating/researching. I will be guided by you. Perhaps it would also be wise to echo what Mr Hunting sensibly added: ‘We cannot please everyone but we intend to please as many as possible.’
One thing I know is that vets are busy, hard-working professionals so my promise to you is that this journal will endeavour to respect your time. My ambition is to give you information as clearly and helpfully as possible. We will aim to be precise and concise.
I know I have very big shoes to attempt to fill. Since Martin Alder announced his retirement at the end of last year, tributes have flooded into this office. As editor for some 26 years, he had built a solid and impressive reputation. His knowledge about veterinary medicine was highly respected and he was very well regarded by colleagues and the profession alike.
Among the tributes were messages from vets and industry figures who were genuinely saddened to see Martin's era come to an end. Adjectives used to describe Martin were: brilliant, outstanding, professional, helpful, fair, independent minded, insightful, always a pleasure to meet.
While he didn't like letting people down or rejecting authors, Martin was a man of conviction and could be firm and unwavering. But this was something that the profession came to admire. He proudly defended the editorial independence of this journal, and rightly so.
One vet said he really appreciated the leadership that Martin provided, particularly at times when it was far from clear if the profession actually knew which way it should be going and the topics it should be debating and considering.
On my first day in post I attended a BVA dinner where I met many vets who told me they would remember Martin fondly. I picked up two recurring themes. The first was that Martin's editorials were consistently well researched and argued – they set an important tone and direction, not only for the journal, but for the profession.
The second theme was that Martin had a passion for dancing. After conferences with a head full of discussion and debate, Martin loved to party and dance. He danced like no one was watching.
Happy retirement Martin. The team here and the profession wish you all the very best for the future. Keep dancing.
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