Ceredigion MP stresses importance of Wales' veterinary workforce

The veterinary workforce perform an instrumental service for rural Wales, which in turn depends on the valuable efforts of vets trained overseas. At present however it is estimated that 100% of Official Veterinarians in Welsh abbatoirs are from overseas, mainly the EU, and public health veterinary services also benefit overwhelmingly from the work of non-UK trained vets, with around 95% of all veterinary posts in the meat hygiene sector being held by overseas graduates.

On 18 April, Ben Lake MP secured a Westminster Hall debate on the future of the veterinary sector in Wales in which he emphasised the importance of ensuring that the profession can continue to recruit and benefit from overseas-trained vets, and that losing just a fraction of the veterinary workforce post-Brexit could have serious consequences and increase the risk of food fraud in the supply chain.


With 44% of EU vets in the UK saying that they are ‘fearful for their future’, and one in five actively looking for work elsewhere, the British Veterinary Association is pushing hard for vets to be placed on the shortage occupation list, to safeguard against shortfalls in the workforce.

Ben Lake MP said:

“We should not underestimate the role that local vets play in their communities, particularly in rural areas such as Ceredigion and it’s important that the veterinary workforce is resilient in a post-Brexit Wales. 

“A strong workforce is vital to maintaining high animal health and welfare standards, food safety standards and overall public health in Wales. The UK Government needs to ensure that preparations are thorough so that the veterinary sector is in robust health and is able to operate effecitively in a post EU-membership climate.

“We also need to have the capacity to educate and train our own vets in Wales. Given that Welsh agriculture is overwhelmingly constitued of animal husbandry, it’s hard to fathom that we still do not have a centre for people to undertake veterinary training in Wales.

“I am pleased that plans to bring veterinary medicine training to Aberystwyth University in Ceredigion are being discussed with the Royal Veterinary College in London. I hope that the agricultural industry and the Welsh Government support the realisation of these ambitious plans. Doing so would help ensure a continuous supply of high-quality vets in Wales and would also encourage more individuals from areas such as Ceredigion to enter the profession.”

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