The British Veterinary Association has launched its first ever questionnaire to gather experiences of discrimination in the veterinary professions.
The group is seeking anonymous feedback from vets, vet nurses, students and other veterinary professionals regarding incidents where they have witnessed discrimination or felt discriminated against.
The survey includes the nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act and other forms of discrimination which might not fit under these characteristics (e.g. weight, socio-economic background).
It was developed with the support of the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society (BVEDS) and British Veterinary LGBT+ and is open to all members of the veterinary family working in clinical and non-clinical settings and those who are studying.
The group intends to gather further quantitative data on discrimination via its Spring Voice of the Veterinary Profession Survey 2019.
Since 2017, BVA has also been undertaking workforce research with researchers at the University of Exeter. This includes a study with employers, investigating the existence of gender discrimination in the profession, carried out in Spring 2018.
BVA Junior Vice President, Daniella Dos Santos said: “The veterinary professions should be open, welcoming and supportive of everyone; however, it is clear from the reports we’re hearing that discrimination is still an issue.
“Worse still, we’re aware that some colleagues have faced a backlash when talking about their experiences of discrimination. This is completely unacceptable.
“If we hope to prompt meaningful change we need to fully understand the scale of the problems our colleagues are facing. To do that it’s important that we provide a safe, anonymous space for everyone to share their experiences.”
She added: “We hope this questionnaire will give people that opportunity and we would like to sincerely thank our colleagues for their willingness to share their personal experiences with us.”