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Time for Change with the BVA

Sep 03, 2019
July witnessed the British Veterinary Association (BVA) launch a new initiative to tackle equality and inclusion within the veterinary profession. In a recent study conducted by the BVA, it revealed that 24% of working vets and vet students have experienced or witnessed discrimination in the past year. Yet responses to the same survey showed that only 56% of the profession feel concerned about discrimination.

To raise awareness of the issue, BVA is inviting all members of the veterinary team to join a ‘Big Conversation on equality and inclusion in the veterinary professions’, starting with the release of a landmark report on the current situation on discrimination. 

The BVA report details the results of two research projects carried out by BVA this year: the first large scale questionnaire capturing the experiences of those who have either faced or witnessed discrimination and a Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey measuring the scale of the issue.

The report reveals that:

  • 16% of vets and vet students have personally experienced discrimination within a veterinary workplace
  • One in five have been witness to such discrimination
  • 47% of incidents related to discrimination from senior colleagues
  • 35% of incidents related to discrimination from clients 

The types of discrimination within the report provided by the participants included:

  • 44% experienced discrimination based on their sex
  • 27% experienced discrimination based on their race
  • Respondents also reported discrimination in relation to other protected characteristics, including age, sexuality, disability and gender reassignment

Younger vets are significantly more likely than older vets to have personally experienced discrimination in the past year (27% of those under 35 had experienced discrimination). Female vets are more than twice as likely to have experienced discrimination than their male colleagues (19% and 8% respectively). The incidence of discrimination is higher amongst vets from a range of minority ethnic backgrounds, and those who described their sexual orientation as bi, gay or lesbian were twice as likely to have personally experienced discrimination in the past year. 

The ‘Big Conversation on equality and inclusion in the veterinary professions’ launched in July, when they invited members of veterinary teams across the UK to join online engagement sessions through social media and invited BVA members to feed in views via their regional representatives ahead of Council on 24 July.

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