Since the millennium, a consensus has been building amongst a number of vets working in the major animal welfare charities and in some universities that it would be desirable to form an Association of Charity Vets (ACV). In 2010, an ad hoc committee was formed and in the ensuing years the ACV was born! The ACV is affiliated with BSAVA and has a volunteer committee of 11 people.
The animal charity sector in the UK is large and many veterinary professionals in the UK apply the principles of shelter medicine their daily work. This type of work has its own contexts and challenges, so the ACV aims to provide a voice and a support network for veterinary professionals working this area. This includes those working for a charity, those in private practice providing services or advice for a charity, those dealing with cases where the funding does not come entirely from the owner, and those carrying out research into issues faced by the sector. It also includes those veterinary professionals working with clients with limited resources, and need to apply principles of pragmatic care.
With our collective power, we can work together to generate and implement evidence-based (shelter) medicine, share information and skills, encourage and facilitate Continuing Professional Development, encourage a critical, pragmatic and ethical approach to decision making, lobby decision makers, and represent the views of colleagues working in this sector to the wider veterinary profession, government and public. Ultimately, it is hoped that the ACV will be a driving force in shelter and charity practice becoming recognised as a distinct speciality in the UK.