Published in The Veterinary Record 10 March 2001 

RCVS Council Elections, 2001

Give unto dogs and cats,
cooked proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Subscribe to the fashion
that the ‘complete, balanced ration’,
can only be made in vats.

Pets are sick, but the veterinary profession, by virtue of its arrangements, appears unable to provide rational and timely treatment. A state of affairs that, perhaps, could have been identified and averted. Not that this is a new issue. Henry Carter, Past President of the RCVS and former editor of the Journal of Small Animal Practice, wrote to me in 1995. He stated:

 For 45 years I have observed Pedigree Petfoods (and its predecessor, Chappie Ltd) seeking to influence veterinary students and practitioners.

For over 25 years I have observed Pedigree Petfoods and other pet food manufacturers . . . [attempting to influence] the BSAVA.

Commenting on decision making by the RCVS and editorial policies of the veterinary press, Henry Carter declared: ‘I believe in open government and free debate in the veterinary press.’

When, at last year’s election, 359 veterinary surgeons registered their vote ‘in favour of the establishment of an independent committee of enquiry into the health, economic and environmental effects of artificial pet foods’ I asked the RCVS to act. In response, RCVS President Bob Michell wrote:

I am replying to your e-mail addressed to the Registrar. RCVS Council Elections are not designed for single issue politics. I have no plans for any such enquiry and, even if I had, I doubt that it would fall within the RCVS ethical or statutory responsibilities. 91 per cent of the voters appear to be uninterested in this issue.

Let’s not dismiss that which underpins or impacts on most aspects of modern veterinary life as a ‘single issue’— an issue which increasingly occupies the thoughts of our clients. Let’s show that a majority of voters are very interested in this issue of ethical and statutory responsibilities, are tired of denial and want action now.