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The Impact of Brexit on the Animal Health Industry

Our forthcoming Animal Health trends report will explore the challenges and opportunities of this interesting and changing industry. We start this month discussing Brexit, and the uncertainty that will be keenly felt in a sector that relies on European expertise. Veterinary industry consultant Ross Tiffin looks at the potential opportunities and pitfalls.

One could be forgiven for thinking that both sides of the EU referendum campaign were launched on a slipway of misinformation. So it’s no surprise that many of us feel cautious about the future. It will take years to fully understand the benefits and pitfalls of disentangling our economy, culture and aspirations from our European neighbours, and it’s impossible to say what the future holds for the veterinary profession.

How will we fare in terms of registration of veterinary surgeons, their education, the monitoring of fitness to practice, authorisation of pharmaceuticals and other products?

Will we be able to retain European graduates – the colleagues we work alongside every day – and how will that impact the workforce? If it takes a year to apply for a place at vet school and five years to train, how will we assess future demand for places or future employment prospects to avoid any gap in the provision of graduates?

How will we fund the RCVS if Scottish graduates can’t work in England and Wales, should something greater than devolution follow Brexit?

It seems likely that the Veterinary Surgeons’ Act 1966 will need to be amended along with some debate about the regulation of allied professionals.

The late Bob Michell – the champion of the One Health approach – was a passionate advocate of veterinary degrees tailored to purpose, and long campaigned for surgeons to be trained to attend the species where they chose to work.

It may well be that qualification as a small animal vet or a large animal vet may yet become a reality.

Feeding the world is one of the most pressing issues to face us and here too, the effects of Brexit may be seen among UK vets working in food safety. Indeed, the whole issue of the vet’s role across the food chain will need to be examined.

The character of the Brexit we finally achieve will impact everything from legislation, import and export duties and their effect on domestic production from the national herd.

For an issue of the magnitude of Brexit and its far-reaching implications, let’s hope that this profession can pull together, share information and make the debate and decisions truly open to all.

Pegasus Associate Director, Heidi Bell outlines what this means for animal health marketeers:

  1. In times of uncertainty such as Brexit, it’s imperative that organisations maintain and reinforce the strength of their corporate identity
  2. In line with this, a clear, calm and consistent internal dialogue is important
  3. Longer term, our regulatory environment may also change which could have an impact on marketing strategies so it will be important to keep up to speed on pending changes.

If you’d like to read the rest of our trends report, email marketing@thisispegasus.co.uk with the subject line ‘Animal Trends Report’ to request a copy.

is a leading veterinary industry consultant and an expert advisor to the Pegasus Animal Health team.