What is BEVA?
Christine Keate takes a look at The British Equine Veterinary Association
Most horsey folk have heard of BEVA – The British Equine Veterinary Association but, how many people know what it does and, why it is so important to our horses?
As horse owners we don’t often take a moment to consider that what we expect of our equine vet might be a little unrealistic – to be available 24/7 and, to have every possible drug and diagnostic tool that might be needed available from the boot of their car or, instantly back at the practice. So, here's a little background on the association that helps them to do their very best for us all.
A very brief outline
From 157 founding members in its first year (1961) there are now 2800 BEVA members. The association was formed to help vets to understand and meet the needs of an increasing equine population, whose role had changed from working or cavalry horses, to part of an ever growing interest in horses and riding, for leisure and sport. A team look after the day to day running of the association under the command of CEO David Mountford; it is governed by its council of 20 elected members and chaired by its President, who will sit for 3 years – one as President Elect, one as President and, one as Immediate Past President.
How does BEVA benefit horses and owners?
The council members all sit on one or more committees that discuss and help to shape policy and approach to a wide range of equine health and welfare issues. For example, one of the key topics under discussion in the Ethics and Welfare Committee currently, is equine obesity. As much as obesity is a huge problem and a difficult discussion between humans, be it teachers and health professionals with parents or individuals, our vets also struggle to broach the subject with horse and pet owners too. A lot of work is carried out to collect data and information to help understand how deeply the problem is affecting our equine population, and it is in fact, one of the worst ‘epidemics’ to hit our horses’ well-being.
From vital issues encountered by vets on a daily basis, to lobbying the British Government to ensure we have for example, a continuous supply of every drug our horses may need and, understanding antimicrobial resistance and anthelmintic resistance (resistance to wormers), BEVA is on the case.
For vets, being in practice can be a very solitary and isolating experience. Being a member of a professional association provides a network of colleagues with whom not only to discuss the options and best way forward on a particular case, but also to provide support when life gets tough. Continued learning is of course essential for everyone but, most crucially for the newly qualified vet. BEVA runs regular CPD sessions for everyone at all levels and, has a network of coaches to help new graduates through the daunting prospect of their first jobs. Sometimes in mixed practice, a newly qualified vet with an interest in horses may well become the practice equine ‘expert’. Without access to other more experienced vets this could be an overwhelming responsibility.
At The Horse Hub, being able to bring you the very best possible information on your horses’ health and welfare is absolutely what we are all about. Without the input from BEVA members this would not be possible. We are very excited to be attending this year’s BEVA Congress – the vets’ annual ‘get together’, which takes place in a couple of weeks. This is now a massive 3 day event with the very best vets worldwide in attendance. Look out for what we have learnt there and, all the great new information we will be able to bring you.