A Response to the New Vet School 

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A Response to the New Vet School 

AVS President Responds to New Vet School 

The announcement that Harper Adams & Keele will be opening the UK & Ireland’s tenth veterinary school, just six years after the ninth opened, is of concern to The Association of Veterinary Students and our members. The concerns expressed in the “AVS Workforce Policy” are as relevant as ever with the announcement of this new course.

To our knowledge, this new vet school will not be building its own teaching hospitals or first opinion practices, and as result will look to use ‘partner practices’ and contract intra-mural rotations. Students are already finding it harder to source EMS placements, and with two vet schools (three when this new school opens) using partner practices, new veterinary schools are increasing stress and financial burdens on our members.

I fail to see how anyone can argue that increasing the number of UK vet schools will alone alleviate the recruitment crisis, improve career disillusionment or student satisfaction.

At AVS we will always seek to support our members, regardless of the institution they attend, and would encourage the universities of Harper Adams & Keele to consider the impact on all veterinary students and engage with us, and other representative organisations, as they continue to plan their new course.

This statement has been developed based on the opinions of veterinary students through discussions with our policy sub committee, our AVS uni reps and feedback they’ve had from members at their university and discussion on the Veterinary Voices Students group. The AVS Workforce Policy can be found on our website in the policy section. If you have any questions or want to find out how to be involved in our policy development contact

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David Charles
AVS President 2018-2019

Published: 25th May 2018

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The Impact of the UCU Strikes on Veterinary Students

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The Impact of the UCU Strikes on Veterinary Students

The Impact of the UCU Strikes on Veterinary Students

At our Spring AVS Committee meeting, a number of our university representatives raised concerns that members had voiced regarding the impact of the 2018 University and College Union Strikes. Members highlighted the disruption of their studies and their concerns regarding the potential ramifications of this on their ability to graduate and become a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) upon that graduation.

As the representative body for Veterinary Students at all nine veterinary schools in the UK & Ireland, your welfare representative and I wrote to the Veterinary Schools Council (www.vetschoolscouncil.ac.uk) and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (www.rcvs.org.uk) to seek clarification and to receive written confirmation from both organisations of the impact, if any, on our members so that we could present the facts and reassure students.

We would like to share with you two extracts from the letters received to help clarify the matter and reassure our members.

If you have any concerns or further questions about the impact of the strikes, or regarding the activities of AVS on the whole, please contact me on avspresident@gmail.com or get in touch with your university AVS representatives whose details can be found on our website.

The Veterinary Schools Council: 

“...the veterinary schools would like to reassure students that lectures affected by strikeaction will not impact on any student’s ability to graduate. This has been a difficult period for universities and everyone has been affected, but veterinary schools have worked hard to ensure that the impact on students has been minimal. Nationally the total number of cancelled lecture, practical and clinical classes for veterinary students was small. However, we know how important each lecture and class can be. Measures taken by veterinary schools included cancelled lectures being delivered as vodcasts, additional learning material being released onto virtual learning environments, and content from cancelled lectures being removed from upcoming examinations with opportunities arranged to learn it before graduation. A similar approach has been taken with small group teaching.

We are sorry for the concern that some of our students have expressed and want to be clear that we are here to help. Any student who feels negatively affected by missed lectures should discuss this with their tutor or other relevant members of staff to make sure they have covered all the necessary learning...”

Professor Ewan Cameron, Chair of The VSC

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons:

“...Where there has been some disruption, we understand that either content was delivered another way (for example, via vodcast), or students will have the ability to catch up at a later date, so that it does not have an impact on their final examinations.
However, it is worth noting that the role of the RCVS in regulating the standards of undergraduate veterinary education is to ensure that veterinary surgeons graduate with Day One Competences. We do not generally specify the way in which the veterinary schools achieve these outcomes, so, unless such strike action was very significant, it would be unlikely that the RCVS would step in.
All of the above is not to play down the anxiety that I recognise you and your fellow students have experienced over this issue, and I am sorry that you have been affected in this way...”

Lizzie Locket, CEO of The RCVS

We hope this has answered your questions and alleviated any concerns you may have. If there are any further developments we will keep you informed.
 

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David Charles
AVS President 2018/19

Published: 8th May 2018

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What's Your Big Idea? A Vet Futures Blog

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What's Your Big Idea? A Vet Futures Blog

What's Your Big Idea? A Vet Futures Blog 

By Eleanor Robertson, AVS Senior Vice President 

As a Vet Futures student ambassador, I was fortunate to attend the first RCVS innovation symposium with other student ambassadors from across the country. The day was incredibly interesting and opened my eyes to innovations such as new business models, artificial intelligence and big data as well as how these developments will affect the veterinary profession. I also learned the importance of embracing innovation to ensure the role of a veterinary surgeon remains relevant and the need for veterinary professionals to be at the forefront of new developments to ensure there is a focus on improving the health and welfare of animals.

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I must admit, before attending the symposium, I had never considered the extent to which innovation and new technology will reform my future career. This is something I am sure I am not alone in, as I believe it is easy for veterinary students to focus solely on the approaches currently taught in our curriculum without considering how these might change in the future. The day inspired me to encourage other students to become involved in innovation so I was keen to join the innovation project group when the opportunity arose at the Vet Futures training day.

After lots of brainstorming, the innovation project team have come up with a plan to introduce a 'Dragon's Den' style competition to UK and Ireland veterinary universities in order to help realise the potential in the next generation of innovators. Student teams will be challenged with identifying an issue facing our industry and designing a new solution; then pitching their idea to a board of industry professionals. We plan to launch the competition in September 2018 with prize giving taking place at the RCVS innovation symposium in 2019. Teams will be encouraged to diversify their skill set and include students from outside the veterinary sphere with plans in place to reach out to business and technology schools at corresponding universities to determine if they would like to be involved.

We hope the competition will fuel an interest amongst our fellow students to embrace innovation and new technology and encourage them to learn about the changes it will bring to our profession. After all, using new technology in our daily lives has become second nature to our generation, so why can’t we embrace this in our chosen profession? I believe encouraging students to grasp the potential that innovation holds from the beginning of their veterinary education will produce graduates who are confident to be at the forefront of creating and embracing innovation, ensuring it is used in a way that that focuses on improving veterinary care.

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AVS partners with VDS Training to launch the inaugural AVS EMS Grants

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AVS partners with VDS Training to launch the inaugural AVS EMS Grants

AVS partners with VDS Training to launch the inaugural AVS EMS Grants

The Association of Veterinary Students [AVS] have teamed up with VDS Training to offer
five £200 grants a year to veterinary students to help with the costs of the 26 weeks of
clinical extra mural studies [EMS]. VDS Training have committed to fund the first two years
of the grants, as a pilot scheme, and AVS have promised to review the offering based on
demand after two years.

The 2016 AVS/BVA survey looked closely at EMS and found that cost was the top barrier to
placements for vet students and was a significant contributor to the average estimated
shortfall of £1188/term in clinical years of the degree. It also found that the average
expenditure for a two-week placement was £152 for Large Animal and £119 for Small
Animal, and that 87% of students had to have a car for their EMS placements.
David Charles, AVS President, said:

“Supporting students on EMS is a priority for AVS this
year.  As the first part of our campaign I am delighted that, with the help of VDS Training, we
can launch the first ever AVS EMS grants next academic year.


“It’s clear that EMS costs students hundreds of pounds a year, without taking into account
lost potential earnings. For a lot of students, many placements are not possible, as they
would have to source external accommodation and transport, just because of where they
happen to live. This is on top of the costs of food and travel required for any placement as
evidenced in the AVS/BVA 2016 Survey.


“Most, if not all, of the current grants on offer to students are for taking part in research or for travel abroad. The AVS EMS Grants will make previously inaccessible EMS placements
feasible for the winning students and help them get the most out of their EMS.”


Carolyne Crowe, VDS Training Consultant commented, “VDS Training are committed to
supporting and developing undergraduates, helping them gain the day one skills that are
vitally important to set them up for graduating. We are delighted to be collaborating with AVS to champion the future of our profession.”


Applications for the grants will open on October 1st, 2018 with AVS &; VDS Training
presenting the awards at The Association of Veterinary Students Congress 2019,
which will be held at the RVC.

For any further information about AVS or the grants please contact David Charles, AVS
President on avspresident@gmail.com or for enquiries about VDS Training please contact
info@vds-training.co.uk.

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Vet News -  January, February and March 2018

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Vet News - January, February and March 2018

Vet News -  January, February and March 2018

Every three months AVS take a look back at the biggest stories in the vet world. All the full stories can be found on the BVA website. 

Brexit 

Brexit is clearly a massive area so below is a short summary of the key points that have arisen over the last three months. A summary of the BVA’s Brexit policy can be found on their website. 

-          Any post Brexit agricultural policy should support animal health and welfare says BVA president John FIshwick. He also emphasised the importance of technolofy, training and cooperation between farmers and vets.

-          The BVA is hoping to add veterinary surgeons to the shortage occupation list (where there aren’t enough resident workers to fill vacancies).

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-          The BVA, the RCVS and Veterinary Schools Council have submitted three requests to the Migration Advisory Committee which aim to protect non-UK citizens who are at UK vet schools (21.6% of vets students are not British Citizens and 22% of vets who work in academia are non-UK nationals).

-          Michael Gove (DEFRA Secretary of State) has announced that animal welfare is a public good and therefore could be funded under agricultural policy after the UK leaves the EU.

Other News

The Government is ‘exploring’ a ban on third party puppy sales. This would mean that any potential purchasers would have to deal directly with the breeder or the rehousing centres.

The Government has announced that all wild animals in English travelling circuses will be banned within the next two years. This follows a Scottish ban in December 2017 which will come into force by the end of 2018.

The increase of brachycephalic breeds of dogs seen in general practice is continuing to worry vets. With many owners not recognising the issues and additional costs that these dogs pose the BVA has produced a statement on their position  and launched social media campaigns (#BreedtoBreathe and ‘hugs not pugs’) which they hope will help to counter the breeds popularity with celebrities and bloggers.

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DEFRA have published an updated draft code of practice for broiler poultry. This highlighted the importance of using welfare outcomes as part of the farm’s health plan. It can be found here

On 12th January 2018 a case of Avian Influenza was found in seventeen wild birds in Dorset. This led to a prevention zone being put in place as well as increasing bio security.

The Scottish Government has banned the use of electric shock collars and electronic training devices. This follows the decision of the Welsh Government to ban shock collars in 2010. England and Northern Ireland are yet to ban the collars, but a consultation into their use has been launched in England.

Alabama Rot (Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy) is a potentially fatal disease which may lead to renal damage. It was first identified in 2012 and there have been 29 cases so far in 2018. The cause and prognosis is unknown and the importance of surveillance and monitoring has been highlighted.

The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has recommended that the clause in the draft Animal Welfare Bill be removed and is instead calling for an Animal Sentience Bill. The committee raised concerns about the drafting the legislation. The importance of having animal sentience enshrined in UK law has been highlighted by the BVA.

 

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Shaping a Vet Future to Share  

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Shaping a Vet Future to Share  

Shaping a Vet Future to Share

By: El Robertson, AVS Senior Vice President

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The initiation of the Vet Futures project in 2014 was a cause of great excitement amongst the AVS committee, myself included. Why? Because as students, the future of the veterinary profession, we should be active in shaping it and championing the project through a myriad of various opportunities.

For those who are new to the Vet futures project, here is a very brief introduction (although check here for all the details). The Vet Futures project was established jointly by RCVS and BVA in 2014 with the proactive aim of readying the profession for an uncertain future. By foreseeing some of the challenges the veterinary team might face, the project will encourage innovative thinking and present a co-ordinated approach to them.

So, keen to play our part in making the project a success, AVS created the ‘Vet Futures Student Ambassador’ initiative. We wanted to, not only increase the visibility of this incredible project at a student level, but also encourage active engagement with it.

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We promised the BVA and RCVS ‘excellent and dynamic’ individuals to become ambassadors, so… no pressure there. Although, as you all know, vet students seem to be a sea of enthusiastic, driven individuals! We were delighted at the level of interest from students from across all the vet schools and very impressed by the ideas and innovative thinking demonstrated in the applications.

The newly appointed Vet Future Ambassadors then came down to the RCVS headquarters in London for a day of training. The day included training on planning, communication, presentation and leadership, focussing on developing student-led projects.

A lot of coloured pens later, we had five project groups that are now hard at work bringing the vet futures ambitions to fruition among vet students. These groups focus on Innovation, One Health, Mental Health Awareness, Veterinary societal outreach and Graduate Outcomes.

I am really excited to introduce this project to you all. Have questions or want to contribute? Don’t hesitate to get in touch – avspresident@gmail.com . We want vet students to embrace the amazing opportunity we have here! Keep an eye on the AVS pages for updates on our progress!!

 

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Canine Arthritis Management - #yourdogsmoreyears

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Canine Arthritis Management - #yourdogsmoreyears

Canine Arthritis Management - #yourdogsmoreyears

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Canine Arthritis Management is a campaign set up to raise awareness about arthritis in dogs, and to improve education about managing the condition at home. They hope to show that arthritis isn't always fatal! Started by vet surgeon, Hannah Capon, they have recently launched a #yourdogmoreyears campaign on social media to improve arthritis understanding in both vets and owners! 
They recently gave a talk at the RVC for International Women's Day. The talk was well-attended and very inspiring for all attendees. They are very keen to give talks at vet schools around the country so if you are interested - please contact them here

More information can be found on their website

"We believe that changing owner, vet and public perception of how to diagnose and treat chronic pain in animals will lead to improved lives for animals and their owners"
Hannah Capon 

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AVS Connect Award 2018 - Winner Announced!

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AVS Connect Award 2018 - Winner Announced!

AVS Connect Award 2018 - Recipient Announced

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A massive congratulations to Vicky Kwok from the University of Cambridge for being chosen to receive the AVS Connect Award 2018. Applicants were invited to apply for funding to attend an international veterinary event of their choice. Vicky will attend the 67th IVSA Congress in Krakow. 

Well done to all applicants for some very strong applications and keep tuned for details about next year's award!

 

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The Battle of the Sexes in the Veterinary World

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The Battle of the Sexes in the Veterinary World

The Battle of the Sexes in the Veterinary World

By Charlotte Heath, Surrey 

Animal Husbandry placements, we’ve all been there, right? The variety of placements are really the joy of it. With the good days - a new exciting thing you haven’t seen, people around you supporting and helping you, the kind farmer who wants you to get involved. Then there’s the bad days, where something happens, and leaves you so taken aback it’s hard to know what todo or say!

On one such placement in the Summer of my first year, I had just finished a gruelling morning of mucking out stables, poo picking etc etc (you know the drill!). I was having a cup of tea, and a much needed break, when the yard owner came over for a chat. She asked me what it was that I wanted to specialise in. A question, much like “Why do you want to be a vet,” is one that I’ve never really had a definitive answer for, it changes daily! Given that I have spent a large proportion of my life around horses, in varying shapes and sizes, it seemed more than logical to tell her I wished to pursue a career in the Equine field. You can imagine my surprise when sheturned and laughed in my face! On questioning her reaction, she told me “you can’t possibly be an equine vet, you’re much too short!” Naturally, I went home and cried to my Mum, but it led to me questioning - was this event in isolation? Had other people also received comments for being female? And, just what, and how, had the role of women in Veterinary medicine changed over time?

The first female vet, Aleen Cust, qualified in the 1890s and worked for 20 years to gain her accreditation in 1922, to the present, where 77% of graduating vets are female, it is no surprise we have come a long way in a short time. The early developments were due to changes in legislation, largely the right for women to vote! And in the celebration of its centenary, it couldn’t be a better time to discuss the progress, and the issues that still exist, with the position of women in Veterinary Medicine.

Aleen Cust wasn’t even permitted to take exams, having to rely on recommendations from the University to secure her first job. Throughout her career, she and the female vets who followed in her footsteps, were consistently rejected, or told they weren’t as good as the male vets they were working with. When you consider now that some people prefer a female vet, even as farm vets, it could be argued that equality is beginning to be reached. The rapid changes can beseen to outweigh the antiquated views of some, but with a large gender pay gap still present, the industry still does not seem to have caught up with the expectations of the modern day. This seems to be a large problem faced by Vets, especially for new graduates where females, on average, can be expected to earn £3000 less than male graduates (The Guardian, 2017) and males are far more likely to progress to managerial roles, or specialist careers. (Vet Futures survey)

My case, unsurprisingly, isn’t in isolation, and equally isn’t the worst example. Simply googling “sexism in the Veterinary career” brings up multiple accounts of women experiencing negative comments for their gender, by clients or even colleagues, simply being told they aren’t good enough/qualified enough/strong enough/dedicated enough, compared to their male counterparts. Of course, this isn’t in isolation to the Veterinary profession, being equally common to both males and females in other careers.

The difference between the attitudes towards vets of either gender might be for many reasons - women are expected to remain in the profession for a lesser amount of time, instead choosing to have children and a family, or work part time to maintain this. Of course, this isn’t true for all female vets but could be a deciding factor for future employers. The view that many members of the public hold is of the idealistic “James Herriot” veterinary view, where they expect a male to come along to see their dog, right after finishing up on a dairy farm! This just isn’t the way the Veterinary world operates any more, and the rise in female graduates and female vets being seen, especially in areas such as the farming industry, should, in time, allow antiquated views towards women held by some individuals to be changed. In a career where both males and females are equally qualified, undertaking the same level of training, and working equally as hard to get where they are, more should be done to both change people’s perceptions, and encourage an equal wage for the same amount of effort and dedication. In Veterinary science, unlike some other careers, both women and men sacrifice their personal lives for work to get to the position they are in, and both should be rewarded equally for this. For the same quality of work, shouldn’t we all be paid the same? Isn’t this just discrimination?

It’s up to us, and our generation, to do something to make a difference.For every person who makes a negative comment, we need to represent ourselves in the best light, ignoring and rising above what they might say, continuing to pursue the careers we wish. Being told I was too short to be an equine vet isn’t something that I can change, but it hasn’t stopped me following my dreams!

REFERENCES

https://www.vetfutures.org.uk/download/factsheets/Gender%20statistics%20about%20veterinary%20surgeons%20in%20the%20UK.pdf.

(http://www.veterinarywoman.co.uk/2015/02/veterinary-women-past-present-and-future)

((https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/14/women-face-pay-gap-just-one-year-after-gra(https://www.vettimes.co.uk/news/disappointing-gender-pay-gap-revealed-in-spvs-surveyduation)

((https://www.vetfutures.org.uk/download/factsheets/Gender%20statistics%20about%20veterinary%20surgeons%20in%20the%20UK.pdf)

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AVS Congress 2018 Raises a Phenomenal Amount for VetLife

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AVS Congress 2018 Raises a Phenomenal Amount for VetLife

AVS Congress 2018 Raises a Phenomenal Amount for VetLife

PRESS RELEASE FOR UNIVERSITY MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2018

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AVS Congress 2018 raised in excess of £1,100 for Vetlife. The student run event, held in February at Bristol Vet School, was attended by 300 delegates from vet schools in the UK, Ireland and from Budapest.

Selecting Vetlife as the official charity of AVS Congress 2018 marks the start of a closer relationship between Vetlife and the Association of Veterinary Students, for which the issue of mental health and wellbeing is a priority.. Following successful mental health first aid weekends organised  at the vet schools in 2017, the Association  will be running these  again for students in the 2018/19 academic year.

David Charles, AVS President said;

‘We all know the veterinary degree brings times of stress, self doubt and anxiety among other things. Sometimes we, as students, need someone to tell us these feelings are normal. Vetlife is a fantastic service. If AVS can work more closely with Vetlife to ensure our members know how the charity can help, and that Vetlife’s services are available to students, then it’s something we should definitely be doing. Expect to hear a lot more about this in the year ahead!’

Welcoming the increased awareness of the Charity amongst veterinary students, and thanking AVS for its contribution, Honorary Treasurer of Vetlife, Graham Dick added; “ We face increasing calls on Vetlife’s services from throughout the  veterinary community, including those in veterinary education. The impressive sum of money raised by the AVS membership, will help us to continue to be able to meet that demand”.

For more information about AVS visit www.avsukireland.co.uk , for information about Vetlife’s student services visit www.vetlife.org.uk/who-we-help/vet-students

If you need support please contact Vetlife Helpline on 0303 040 2551 or email via www.vetlife.org.uk

 

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Notes for Editors:

Vetlife is a charity which provides support to members of the UK veterinary community and their families who have emotional, health or financial concerns. 

Vetlife finances and manages three services in order to achieve this:

Vetlife Helpline:  provides confidential emotional support by phone or anonymous email via the website.  Support is provided by trained volunteers; vets, VNs, and others who have knowledge of the veterinary profession.  It is a completely confidential, non-judgmental listening service, which gives people time and space to talk.  Callers are provided with access to specialist help where appropriate.   

Vetlife Financial Support: provides financial and other assistance to veterinary surgeons, and their dependants, in the form of regular monthly grants or one-time special gifts.  Professional advice on issues such as debt and State benefits may also be funded.

For younger people, this support can mean homes not being repossessed or enablement to deal with their physical or mental health problems and a successful return to work.  For the elderly or those unable to return to work, the support provides an improved quality of life.  

Vetlife Health Support: provides professional support for mental health issues, including those related to stress, anxiety, depression, alcohol, drugs and eating disorders. 

More information is available at www.vetlife.org.uk

Contact: Jo Driver
E: info@vetlife.org.uk  T: 0207 908 6385
Donations can be made to Vetlife on-line at www.justgiving.com/vetlife

Vetlife is a working title of the Veterinary Benevolent Fund which is a Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee, Company No. 153010 at 7 Mansfield Street, London W1G 9NQ, Charity Registration No. 224776

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AVS and IVSA 2018 Election Results!

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AVS and IVSA 2018 Election Results!

AVS and IVSA 2018 Election Results 

AVS and IVSA are proud to announce the results of the recent election and who will be joining the committee for 2081-2019! As well as the most candidates we have ever had, over 1 600 of you voted - making it our biggest election yet! 
Thank you to all candidates and voters. 

The results of the vote are: 

Junior Vice President: Katie Roberts
Secretary: Anna Gregory
Treasurer: Angus Lane
JAVS Editor: Seth Kennard
Web Editor: Iona Freeman
Grants and Sponsorship: Isabella Hannay

IVSA Exchange Officer: Tavishi Pandya
IVSA Promotions Officer: Victoria Kwok
IVSA Veterinary Public Health Officer: Laura Turner

Congratulations to all the successful candidates, we are looking forward to meeting you at the handover meeting in April! 
Commiserations to the unsuccessful candidates. 

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100 Years of Women's Suffrage - The RVCS' First Female President 

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100 Years of Women's Suffrage - The RVCS' First Female President 

100 Years of Women's Suffrage - The RVCS' First Female President 

The 6th February 2018 marks a hundred years since some British women were given the right to vote. With over half of the current veterinary profession being female and this only set to increase in the future this is an important milestone for the entire profession. With the voting open for the new AVS and IVSA committee (with voting open to any vet student) it is excellent timing.

Last year we published an article on Aleen Cust which can be viewed here so this year we thought we would highlight another extraordinary female vet – Dame Olga Uvarov who was the first female president of the RCVS.

  Image from: National Portrait Gallery

Image from: National Portrait Gallery

Uvarov was born in Moscow in 1910 and was the daughter of a Russian lawyer and descendent of a Tartar count. After the Russian revolution in 1917, the family moved to the relative safety of the Russian countryside. Here the family fell victim to a typhoid epidemic which led to the death of her mother. Uvarov’s father was then shot at a revolutionary tribunal, leaving her and her brothers alone apart from an uncle (Sir Boris Uvarov) in London. After months of waiting she travelled to London and arrived without any hair or fingernails and suffering from Malaria. Her first memory of London was being amazed that people could leave their washing outside without it being stolen.

She graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1934 winning Bronze medals in Physiology and Histology. The profession she entered was very different to the modern profession with women “not expected to treat horses” instead expected to try and “alleviate the sufferings of sick lap-dogs”. She was one only thirty-four women registered with the RCVS and began her career in a mixed practice before setting up her own small animal practice in Surrey in the 1940s. She then entered the pharmaceutical industry and became the head of Glaxo Laboratories Veterinary Advisory Department. She also worked for the BVA as an advisor on Technical Information.

As one of the first women in the profession she was elected President of the Society of Women Veterinary Surgeons in 1947 and then became President of the Central Veterinary Society in the 1950s, from whom she received the Victory Gold Medal in 1965. She was elected to the council of the RCVS in 1968 and became President in 1976. She was first made a CBE in 1978 and then a DBE in 1983. Outside of her veterinary work Uvarov enjoyed literature, ballet and flowers - she even has an orchid named after her! She was forced to move out of her home after it was attacked by animal right activists and sadly died in September 2001.

Uvarov paved the way for women taking on leadership roles in the veterinary profession and is an inspiration to all. She is a reminder of the importance of hard work, fairness and determination in making a good vet. Uvarov was and still is one of the most influential vets in recent history and is a role model for past, current and future veterinarians.

 Image from: Art UK

Image from: Art UK

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AVS and IVSA Elections 2018 - VOTING OPEN

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AVS and IVSA Elections 2018 - VOTING OPEN

AVS and IVSA Elections 2018

It gives us great pleasure to announce the candidates that are running for election to the AVS and IVSA Committee. Voting will open after the AGM at Congress on the 4th February 2018 and the results will be announced on the 11th February 2018. 

If you are viewing this on your phone - the photos may appear in the wrong order! The list of running candidates is below each title - and if you click on their names you will be able to see their manifesto (which can also be viewed by clicking on the photo!)

VOTING IS NOW OPEN!
Please click the button below to vote
but don't forget to read the candidate's manifestos first! 

 

AVS Roles

Junior Vice President

- Hannah Fitzsimmonds
- Katie Roberts

 

  Hannah Fitzsimmonds

Hannah Fitzsimmonds

  Anna Gregory

Anna Gregory

  Becca Grace

Becca Grace

JAVS Editor

- Seth Kennard

  Seth Kennard

Seth Kennard

  Joanna Gillingham

Joanna Gillingham

Web Editor

- Iona Freeman
- Ben Smith

  Iona Freeman

Iona Freeman

  Katie Roberts

Katie Roberts

 
  Antonia Leech

Antonia Leech

 
  Angus Lane

Angus Lane

 
  Isabella Hannay

Isabella Hannay

 
  Ben Smith

Ben Smith

IVSA Roles

Exchange Officer

- Tavishi Pandya
- Cecile Thiacourt

  Tavishi Pandya

Tavishi Pandya

  Evelyn Hodgson

Evelyn Hodgson

  Christina Paish

Christina Paish

  Laura Turner

Laura Turner

IVSA Promotions

- Gurpawan Khalsa 
- VIctoria Kwok

  Gurpawan Khalsa

Gurpawan Khalsa

 
  Cecile Thiaucourt

Cecile Thiaucourt

 
  Olivia Mackie

Olivia Mackie

  Meg Rawlins

Meg Rawlins

 
  Victoria Kwok

Victoria Kwok

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AVS and IVSA Elections 2018

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AVS and IVSA Elections 2018

AVS and IVSA Elections 2018 OPEN

AVS Elections 2018 are now open and we are accepting manifestos for the following positions:

AVS Roles

  • Secretary (2 years)
  • Treasurer (2 years)
  • Grants and Sponsorship Officer (1 year)
  • JAVS Editor (2 years)
  • Website Editor (2 years)
  • Junior Vice President (must have already been on the AVS Committee)

IVSA Roles

  • Exchange Officer (1 year)
  • Promotions Officer (1 year)
  • Veterinary Public Health Officer (1 year)

For more information on the roles, please see the descriptions below: 
- AVS Role Descriptions
- IVSA Role Descriptions

The current committee have written a few paragraphs each on what it's really like being on the committee - it can be accessed here. 

Being on the AVS committee is a great experience and gives you a chance to make an impact representing veterinary students on a national level.

Please fill out the application form and send an individual photo of yourself to the Secretary here (avscommittee@gmail.com). The application form can be found here.  
The closing date is 28th January 2018 and voting will open after the Annual General Meeting at Congress. 

Get submitting and good luck!

 

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Vet News - October, November and December 2017

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Vet News - October, November and December 2017

Vet News - October, November and December 2017

We have compiled a short summary of the top Veterinary News Stories from the last three months for you to read. All of the below can be viewed in full on the BVA News Website. 

OCTOBER

Scottish Government Debates Banning Wild Animals in Circuses
(9th October 2017)

MSPs voted unanimously in support of the bill which will make it an offence tfor wild animals to be used in travelling circuses in Scotland. The Bill will now move onto stage 2 and then hopefully onto the full Parliament for final amendments and approval. 

Post-Brexit Cooperation Necessary for Animal Health and Welfare
(20th October 2017)

The BVA have called for a continuation to the unique relationship between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Highlighting the importance of the “all-island” disease control strategy and the importance of movement of people, products and animals across the border. 

Bluetongue-positive Animals Imported to UK
(23rd October 2017)

The Bluetongue virus was detected during routine post-movement tests and has led to movement restrictions and some culling on the affected farms. Bluetongue is spread by infected midges and as the weather becomes more mild, an increase in the virus may be seen. 

Veterinary Medicines Directorate Show Sales of Antibiotic for Food-Producing Animals Drops by 27%.
(27th October 2017)

Senior Vice-President of the BVA, Gudrun Ravetz commented: “It is extremely encouraging to see reductions in antibiotic use, including Critically Important Antibiotics, across all livestock industries for which data was made available this year"

NOVEMBER

The RCVS has called for Homeopathy and Similar Treatments to be seen as Complementary Treatments Rather than Alternative. 
(3rd November 2017)

The RCVS stated that “homeopathy exists without a recognised body of evidence for its use and is not based on sound scientific principles”

UK Government has Announced that all English Slaughterhouses will have CCTV from Spring 2018
(10th November 2017)

This comes after many years of campaigning by the BVA and the VPHA and is being hailed as a breakthrough for animal welfare. It follows a consultation which showed that 99% of respondents supported the introduction of CCTV. 

Are Animals Sentient? A Brexit debate. 
(23rd November 2017)

After a massive outcry earlier in the month when it seemed that the Government voted against animal sentience post Brexit, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove issued a Written Ministerial Statement stating that animals are sentient. However, no news on when this would be enshrined in law was included…

DECEMBER

New Chief Veterinary Officer Announced
(4th December 2017)

Christine Middlemass has been announced as the UK’s next Chief Veterinary Officer. She is taking over from Nigel Gibbens who is stepping down after 10 years in the role. 

Wales Announces New TB Eradication Targets
(13th December 2017)

These targets will mean that hopefully Wales will be TB free between 2036 and 2041. There has already been a significant reduction in incidence across Wales thanks in part to a well-structured and regionalised strategy. 

The Scottish Government has Introduced New Measures to Improve Farmed Fish Health
(19th December 2017)

The measures, which have been welcomed by the BVA and the Fish Veterinary Society, will help improve the health and welfare of Scottish Fish and will consequently ensure that Scottish aquaculture is sustainable. This is an important industry to protect as fish is worth over £650million to the Scottish economy each year. 

The Government has introduced New Puppy Welfare Plans
(22nd December 2017)

The measures include a crack down on breeders and illegal puppy smuggling. Proposals may lead to compulsory licensing for any puppy breeders or sellers and preventing online sales. 

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The Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance - RUMA and VMD Conference 

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The Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance - RUMA and VMD Conference 

The Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance - RUMA and VMD Conference 

By Meg Rawlins, RVC

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We all need to fight resistance.  

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is currently one of the largest threats facing modern society, which could potentially have devastating impacts on both human and animal health. As veterinary students we will play a large role in tackling this complex, global issue in the future; whether this be through ensuring appropriate antibiotic use in first opinion practice, in a policy role or through research.

On the 27th of October 2017 I was lucky to attend a conference by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) in association with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD): ‘Antibiotic resistance- facing up to the AMR Challenge’.

RUMA was established in 1997 with the aim to produce a coordinated and integrated approach to best practice in animal medicine use and promote high standards of food safety, animal health and animal welfare in British Livestock Industry.  

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One Health Approach

What struck me most about the conference initially was the variety of backgrounds of the delegates; including directors of farmers unions, people from major retailers, veterinarians and human health professionals. Not only was it was inspiring to observe such a diverse range of people coming together to address AMR, it also called attention to the interdisciplinary, one health approach needed to combat this incredibly significant issue.

One health was a major theme throughout the day. Lord Gardiner (Parliamentary undersecretary of state for rural affairs and biosecurity), kicked the conference off to a great start by emphasising the need for one health action. He discussed the links between animal and human health and AMR, and how we need to tackle the concerns of antibiotic use in agriculture from farm to fork.

Professor Paul Cosford, Director for Health Protection and Medical Director for Public Health England, further highlighted the collaboration between the medical and veterinary professions.  The phrase ‘gateway to antibiotics’ was used to describe veterinarians, and this term can be applied across the board to other medical professionals; stressing that we all have a role to play with reducing the use of AMR.

The afternoon session consisted of members of the RUMA taskforce discussing the work which they have done. The group consisted of expert veterinarians and farmers who worked to produce guidelines and set goals to reduce antimicrobial usage across the different sectors. These guidelines have since been released and are available to read. What fascinated me most about this part of the conference was how RUMA emphasized the relationship between farmers and veterinarians making it a two way conversation. Opening communication between the two groups can allow for sensitive issues to be discussed, such as encouraging farmers to change practices. This is perhaps something we, as the next generation of veterinarians, should be exploring further.

Animal welfare and AMR

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Concern has been expressed by some in the farming and veterinary sectors that the reduction in use of antimicrobials will have a negative impact on animal welfare.

Christanne Glossop (CVO of Wales) addressed this point head on; focussing on how veterinarians can work with farmers to produce effective herd health plans and help improve management- this can reduce the use of antimicrobials in livestock whilst actually improving animal welfare. She also suggested how schemes such as the BVD eradication programme can also help maintain the balance of reducing the burden of disease, improving animal welfare and reducing the usage of antimicrobials.

A variety of videos shown throughout the day also presented the successes of various interventions on a herd health level from a welfare point of view which has helped increase production and decrease antimicrobial usage.

Achievements already

In the past two years, the sales of antibiotics for use in livestock has reduced by 27%; this exceeded the government target previously set. Coinciding with the conference was the release of figures from the Veterinary Antibiotic Resistance and Sales Surveillance (VARSS) which showed that sales dropped from 62mg/kg to 45mg/kg whilst sales of the highest priority critical antibiotics also fell. This has been the lowest recorded levels since surveillance began and the pig sector, which uses the highest amount of antimicrobials compared to the other sectors have had great successes with a 34% drop in antimicrobials in general with a 73% decrease in use of critically important antibiotics.

Take-home messages

These are very promising figures, but there are still many steps which must be taken. Through collaboration, education and advocation, RUMA have made significant progress, but they cannot do it alone. There are still major challenges which need to be tackled, such as the barrier between vets and farmers, as well as maintaining high animal welfare standards.

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Nigel Gibbens (CVO of the UK) reminded us to not forget the impact of AMR in companion animal and equine practice, as well as resistance to other drugs such as anthelmintics. Regardless of whether you work with small or large animals, AMR and other disease resistances affect all disciplines within the Veterinary field.

The reality is that despite our efforts, AMR cannot be resolved overnight. Attempts to reach the proposed targets for each sector are still falling short. It is going to require hard work, collaboration and education to achieve this and we as future veterinarians will be at the forefront of this change in use of antimicrobials.

I urge you to go away and read the VARSS report, The RUMA Task Force Report, the O’Neill report and other publications about AMR and consider what can we, both individually and collaboratively, do to mitigate the effects that AMR can have on our society?

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Horse Breeding - When is Enough Enough?

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Horse Breeding - When is Enough Enough?

Horse Breeding - When is Enough Enough?

By Emily Mound, Surrey

As veterinary students we are all aware of the issues surrounding selective breeding - a few years ago the focus was on hip dysplasia, now the health problems associated with brachycephalic dogs is the forefront. However, before Christmas a horse made the news, and not for the right reasons. An Arab colt was for sale; he had been bred to exaggerate the breed ideals of an Arabian horse. The end result was a dished face, large eyes, huge nostrils and a media frenzy.

  Picture courtesy of the Telegraph (accessed 4th January 2018)

Picture courtesy of the Telegraph (accessed 4th January 2018)

My first concern is how this affects the welfare and health of the animal. From my knowledge as a second year student, I am aware that horses are obligate nasal breathers. Due to the extreme shape of his skull, it is highly likely that the nasal cavities and passageways of the horse are severely restricted and will cause him difficulty breathing. The horse will be unable to exercise properly and may experience respiratory issues, leading to a reduced quality of life. The five needs described in The Animal Welfare Act 2006, law in the UK but not the USA, state that animals should be protected against pain and suffering. Knowingly and selectively breeding animals that have compromised respiratory systems goes completely against this. 

Another need is the ability for animals to express natural behaviours. Horses are evolved from prey animals and exhibit fight or flight responses. How will this horse exhibit a flight response if he can’t gallop due to breathing issues? And what other stress will he suffer if he is unable to exhibit this response?

  More Cartoon than Reality?  Image from Pinterest (Accessed 4th Jan 2018)

More Cartoon than Reality? 
Image from Pinterest (Accessed 4th Jan 2018)

My second concern is a moral one. Disregarding health implications and selectively breeding these animals purely for cosmetic purposes is morally wrong. These are animals rather than objects; they feel pain and express behaviour.

They deserve the right to a natural and pain free existence.This animal is now worth an extraordinary amount of money because he fits the “ideal” for his breed, as set by the breed society. This standard is impractical and needs to change for as long as it exists breeders will strive to achieve it; regardless of health or welfare implications. More must also be done to educate breeders and owners about the respiratory issues behind the “dished face”. I believe that if a person truly loves horses (and I hope that all breeders and owners do) and this person understood what they were doing to their horses by selectively breeding for this characteristic; they would stop. 

 

For more information please see the links below: 

- The Guardian
- Horse and Hound
- The Telegraph

 

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A Poor Girl's Guide to Travelling Abroad

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A Poor Girl's Guide to Travelling Abroad

A Poor Girl's Guide to Travelling Abroad.

By Sophie Arogundade, RVC 

Let me set the scene. It is summer 2017, you have been in vet school for the last four years and as much as you would love sitting through another lecture about radiographic imaging of a horse’s foot you crave adventure. But there’s one small caveat, you are a poor student. No time for student jobs after AHEMS, EMS, and studying.

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During the lecture, you can barely listen to another word when an email notification pops up on your phone; ‘SU SAVMA is offering up to £1,000 for travel grants!’. Your heart stops and you intake a sharp breath. How could you not apply?
That is exactly how I ended up getting a travel grant to attend the 66th International Veterinary Student Association (IVSA) congress in Malaysia! Encouraged by the current IVSA vice president and secretariat Jordon Egan, I applied to the RVC SAMA’s travel grant and was lucky enough to get the two-week conference paid in full.  During my time there I discovered the great benefits of being part of IVSA.

My knowledge of IVSA was minimal, I knew it was something international and  I knew two of my friends enjoyed running the RVC branch. The true gravity of IVSA was lost on me, but Malaysia changed that. I had signed up for two weeks to attend the 66th IVSA conference held, for the most part, at Universiti Putra Malaysia but we visited three different parts of the country; Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, and the beach resort Kelantan. The theme of this conference was ‘One Health’. The idea that a collaboration between human and animal medicine could result in an increased depth of knowledge and medical advancements for both parties, explored through a series of lectures and practicals. General assemblies were held to review policies and vote new members into positions within the IVSA. It appears that IVSA is a self-contained unit in which veterinary students around the world all contributed to benefit the veterinary profession.

Landing at Kuala Lumpur airport at 10pm, confused and disorientated after my 17-hour flight from London, I caught an uber to the Soliel hotel and was greeted by IVSA Malaysia team to book me in and get a room ready for the exciting two-week adventure that lay ahead.

The next few days were insane, I met loads of other veterinary students from all over the world. From Europe to South East Asia everyone had a very different idea of what veterinary medicine meant for them. For some is was means of conservation; it was a vet’s duty to protect and raise awareness of endangered species in hope of preserving the animals for the future.
For other is it was one health, the vet’s role was to increase public awareness of zoonotic disease which raged through the country, such as rabies, keeping both human and animal safe with knowledge of clinical signs and vaccination programmes. For a few, it was a day job where they helped the general public take better care of their animals within a clinical setting.

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Never before had I really  considered the true broadness of the veterinary medicine degree and how it affected people from all over the world. IVSA allowed for a collaboration of ideas, personalities and backgrounds all come together in one place and learn from each other to better the profession worldwide.

During the conference, there was a lot of politics that were lost on me, I hadn’t the faintest clue about how the amendments to policies changed anything. The lectures put on by the university lectures were interesting but few and far between. It was the discussions that I found to be one of the most interesting experiences.  When on the subject of deforestation within the palm oil production industry, there was as stark difference between countries that produced palm oil for the economy and those that did not. The Malaysians saw little negative press regarding the palm oil growth and were strongly encouraged to use the product. In western countries it was strongly discouraged, with thought of deforestation and ill health being related to the use of palm oil. Malaysians found it shocking that ‘palm oil free’ products are advertised oversees, especially as a product that is used so widely at home.

IVSA also encouraged making connections with other students. This encourages travel between their members universities, creating opportunities for people to travel the world and experience veterinary medicine from another point of view in a different setting. In the conference room of Kelentan hotel, delegates set up stands to explain the benefits of visiting their university and the facilities offered, giving others an idea of what to expect when visiting. This was perfect for students who wish to travel during their degree and broaden their horizons on veterinary medicine, but do not have the time to do so. For example, travel from years 3 – 5 of a UK veterinary degree is difficult as the 26 weeks of EMS must be completed before taking finals in fifth year.  IVSA conferences and exchanges are a perfect opportunity to travel and meet new people whilst still counting your time as EMS.

As the delegates came from all over the world a ‘cultural night’ is held at every IVSA conference. This is where students are able to share some tradition food and drink from their country with everyone in attendance. It was like going on a mini world trip in one room with everyone showing different methods on how to take a traditional drink or eat a particular food. It was one of the best nights during the conference.

Of course, during the trip there was some exploring done with the other delegates on the conference. We visited the bantu caves and played with the monkeys that lived there, soaked up some local culture, appreciated the beautiful architecture of the many mosques which represented strong influence of the Muslim religion. We also tried some of the local street food as we roamed the streets at Malacca’s night market.

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At the end of my two-week stay I was saddened at the prospect of return to my normal life back in England. With placements at veterinary clinics booked and due to start soon, my adventure was feeling more dreamlike during the final days. I had felt so at home at the conference, making great new friends with students at other veterinary schools across the UK and the world.

On the Friday morning after the goodbye drinks in celebration of our time together as 200 vet students that may never see each other again, I sneaked out of my shared hotel room and sombrely met my friend from RVC as we were both travelling back on the same flight. We loaded our bags in the taxi, reminiscing about the country and the people we were about to leave. It had been a wonderful experience, one that I wish I could repeat. As we went through security and boarded our plane, I stared fondly down at the place that at taught me so much about the meaning of veterinary medicine. The worldwide impact of the profession and the way it was all united by IVSA. Thanks to RVC SAMA I was able have this experience, which truly meant to world to me. As the plane climbed higher into the atmosphere speeding me back to a normal life, I closed my eyes, and fell asleep.

So, for anyone that is interested in worldwide travel, a bunch of great people to hang out with, and some interesting ideas for what to do with your degree contact the IVSA representative of your university. If your IVSA rep isn’t holding as many exchanges or advertising the opportunities as much as you would like, how about giving them a hand?  

AVS Connect Award: If you have been inspired by Sophie's story, you can now apply to the AVS Connect Award which is offering £250 for you to attend international events (perfect for IVSA!). To see more information and to apply please click here!

 

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AVS & BVA Student Travel Grants 2018 - NOW OPEN!

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AVS & BVA Student Travel Grants 2018 - NOW OPEN!

As AVS and BVA student members you are eligible to apply for a travel grant to carry out a research project overseas. There is one AVS award and two BVA awards available: 

AVS

AVS Connect Award

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This will provide financial assistance (£250) for a vet student to attend international meetings or events as a representative of the UK and Ireland veterinary student body.
- More information can be found here
- The application form can be found here
- Deadline is 28th February 2018
Terms and conditions can be found at the bottom of this page. 

BVA

BVA Overseas Travel Grant

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Four awards of £500 to undertake a research project which contributes to development and welfare in a developing country. Previous projects have included: helminths in Sri Lankan Elephants, effective breeding in Peruvian Alpaca Herds and Wildebeest-associated Malignant Catarrhal Fever in Kenya!

Harry Steele-Bodger Memorial Travel Scholarship

Intended to allow a visit to a Veterinary or agricultural school or a research institute. It is open to penultimate and final year veterinary students. 

For more information please see the BVA website - which can be accessed here

 

 

Terms and Conditions of AVS Connect Award 

Terms & Conditions:
1. Eligibility: Applicants must be members of the AVS i.e. currently studying Veterinary Medicine/Science at a university in the UK or Ireland.
2. Submissions can be made at any point in the year but the deadline is 28th February 2018
3. Application review and final decisions will be made within the 4 weeks of submission.
4. Grant payments will be made as soon as possible after the decisions have been made.
5. Successful applicants that receive grants are expected to submit a 500 word report with photo of their experience suitable to be published in JAVS and on our website. 
6. Retrospective applications will not be considered
7. Should the applicant not attend the event/meeting the grant should be returned to AVS in full.

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EMS - Unpaid Internship or Not?

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EMS - Unpaid Internship or Not?

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There is currently a bill going through the House of Lords which is seeking to ban unpaid internships - remind anyone of EMS?? Unfortunately, EMS would not count as an unpaid internship as it is done whilst we are at University and therefore is work experience rather than an internship. 

Introduced by Lord Holmes of Richmond, the bill will mean that after a month of unpaid work the minimum wage will apply, saying: "the practice is clearly discriminatory, crushes creatvity and competitiveness and holds individuals and our country back - it's time we consigned them to the past, to the novels of Dickens".

Last November, the proposals were blocked in the House of Commons by the Government saying that it would "undermine existing employment laws". 

References: 

- BBC News, 2017, Public "backs ban on long unpaid internships"
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41717401 (07/11/17)

- BBC News, 2016, Unpaid internships reform plan blocked in Commons
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37874269

- BBC News, 2017, Unpaid internships likened to modern slavery in Lords debate
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41765381

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