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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Without an uptake in the number of qualified vets, it is likely we will see more shortages’

According to Eville & Jones, the UK veterinary shortage is hitting Wales the hardest.

It has reported an 8% increase in veterinary job listings over the past month alone.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the principal provider of outsourced official veterinary controls throughout England and Wales said:

“There are around 2,000 vacant roles in the veterinary sector every year. Only 900 vets qualify from approved universities year on year.”

“Aberystwyth is the only veterinary university in Wales, and this won’t produce graduates for a few more years.”

UK veterinary shortage 

It added that usually, vets from within the EU have “plugged” the shortfall in the UK. However, since Brexit, this number has dropped “rapidly”.

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It cited new rules Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), created that require vets to formally meet a high standard of English at level 7, compared to level 4.1 required for a skilled work visa, as the reason for this.

“We currently have over 30 vacancies for veterinary roles in Wales. These include area managers, export veterinarians, certification support officers and meat hygiene inspectors.”

“Working in veterinary controls is a vital job that allows the production of food to carry on being distributed around the country.”

“However, without an uptake in the number of qualified vets, it is likely we will see more struggles and shortages across the nation.”

Furthermore, the body has called on qualified vets to “seriously” think about applying for a role within veterinary public health.

It stated these roles “arguably” provides a greater work-life balance than working with companion animals and plays a crucial role in ensuring food production levels can be maintained and checked safely.

‘Vets are being sucked out of practice because of Brexit’

Meanwhile, Fine Gael senator Tim Lombard has on the government to act to resolve a shortage of vets.

Currently, in the region of 100 vets graduate annually from Ireland’s only veterinary medicine college, that being UCD.

“We have a huge issue around a shortage of vets on farms. Now, vets are being sucked out of practice and are doing departmental work because of Brexit.”

“That will have a potential knock-on effect on services on the ground. Also, we will have to look at how those veterinary certificates are being worked on and who signs them.”

“With a limited number of graduates coming through, we cannot have a situation where vets are literally taken away from the farm gate to do this work,” he added.

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