Sustainability in Veterinary Practice Speakers

Rosie Brandreth-Poynter, Vet and Great British Bake Off Semi-finalist

A 2015 Cambridge graduate, Rosie was a semi-finalist on the Great British Bake Off 2019, best known for producing her animal-themed bakes including biscuit chicken! Living in Oxfordshire with a menagerie of animals, Rosie works as an emergency and critical care small animal (night) vet, after five years of mostly equine practice.

Since the Bake Off, Rosie has been developing recipes for various brands and magazines, chatting on BBC radio, running online baking classes and enjoying charity work, alongside her veterinary career.

Jess French, Author and CBeebies Presenter

After starting her career as a zoologist and conservationist, primarily working with primates, Jess graduated from Nottingham Vet School in 2016. She went on to work as a small animal and zoo vet in Norfolk. During her studies, Jess presented a popular children’s television series, which encouraged pre-schoolers to get outside and search for bugs. This led to her work as a children’s author, which is currently her full-time occupation. Jess has written several best-selling titles on the theme of the environment and conservation, and in 2021 has been given the honour of writing one of the £1 books for World Book Day. ‘Protect the Planet’ will be available for free to all school age children in exchange for a National Book Token, or available for £1 to the wider public.

Jen Gale, Sustainability Campaigner and Author

Jen is an ex-vet and ordinary, knackered mum of two whose life changed when she dragged and cajoled the family into a year buying nothing new. That year changed not only what she buys, but also how she sees her place in the world. Jen recognised the power that we all have as individuals to make a difference to the things we care about, simply through getting informed about the impact of our daily choices, and figuring out easy swaps and changes. The family are still (just about) talking to her and they live in Wiltshire where Jen writes and podcasts about all things Sustainable(ish).

Zoe Halfacree, Davies Veterinary Specialists

Zoë is a small animal vet and a passionate advocate for sustainability. Zoë works at Davies Veterinary Specialists as a Soft Tissue Surgeon and also Chairs the Greener Veterinary Practice working group, Vet Sustain. Zoë is an RCVS and ECVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery and also holds an RCVS Certificate in Veterinary Diagnostic imaging. Zoë enjoyed working at The Royal Veterinary College for many years, where she was a Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Surgery. Zoë remains involved in curriculum and clinical practice initiatives in environmental sustainability at The Royal Veterinary College.

Laura Higham BVM&S MSc MRCVS, Vet Sustain

Laura Higham is the founder and a co-director of Vet Sustain, an initiative to champion sustainability in the global veterinary professions. Laura is a veterinary consultant in sustainable livestock production at the Food Animal Initiative (FAI), working alongside food businesses to drive sustainability in commercial supply chains, with a focus on animal welfare and responsible antibiotic use. Having previously worked in the NGO sector implementing projects to support animal-based livelihoods in Africa and the Middle East, she has an interest in the intersect between international development and animal health and welfare, and the wider roles of vets in society. Laura is currently studying for a PhD in antimicrobial use at The Global Academy for Agriculture and Food Security at Edinburgh University and holds an MSc in international animal health.

Rob Howe, Veterinary Surgeon & Clinical Director, LLM Farm Vets

Graduating from Bristol in 2006, Rob set up the Lancashire arm of LLM Farm Vets in 2009, now part of Vet Partners where he is helping drive an agenda around sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Farming faces multiple threats but Rob believes strongly that if farm vets wish to, we are well placed to play a pivotal role in defending sound farming practices through knowledge exchange and inspiring change within practice & agriculture to benefit animal, human and environmental health.

He is just commencing a 2021 AHDB Nuffield Scholarship, researching the role of farm vets within regenerative agriculture which is a loosely defined term that encompasses practices producing healthy food, while boosting biodiversity, resilience and soil carbon. He continues to work with Vet Sustain, Vet Partners and others to promote sustainable food and farming.

Talk to him about dung beetles if you dare… a ready-made doorway into agroecology for farmers and vets.

Silvia Janska BSc(Hons) MSc BVetMed PgCertVBM MRCVS, Equine Veterinary Centre

Silvia obtained a BSc in Veterinary Science and a MSc in Wild Animal Biology prior to graduation with a vet degree from RVC in 2014. Throughout her 8-year education at the RVC, she also worked in their e-Media department on various projects that enhanced student learning. After graduating she completed an equine internship and a Certificate in Veterinary Business Management at Liverpool University. Alongside her primary career as an ambulatory equine vet, Silvia also consults within the animal health industry (www.innoveting.com) and leads a project on flexible working in the vet profession (www.flexee.vet). Moreover, particularly after ‘climate change’ was re-defined as ‘climate crisis’ she has become progressively more interested in environmental sustainability and is delighted to be part of the Vet Sustain greener veterinary practice working group.

Anna Judson BVSc MSc MRCVS, SPVS President 2020

Anna graduated from Liverpool 1987 and completed an MSc in Nature Conservation at UCL in 1989. She was partner in mixed practice from 1990-2013 and partner/director in a small animal practice until 2019. Anna is the SPVS representative for Practice Standards Group. Her interests include practice standards, equality and diversity and sustainability within the veterinary sphere.

Tim Mair, Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic

After graduating from the University of Bristol, Tim spent three years in mixed practice before returning to Bristol to undertake research in equine mucosal immunology. He returned to practice in 1993 and has been in equine practice ever since. Tim obtained diplomas from the RCVS in equine internal medicine and equine soft tissue surgery and became a diplomat of the European College of Equine Internal Medicine in 2002 and an Associate of the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging in 2011.

He currently works as a clinician at the Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic in Kent and is Equine Veterinary Director of CVS Ltd. Tim was President of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) in 2019-2020, and is their representative on the Practice Standards Group. His particular interests include evidence-based veterinary medicine, clinical research, equine gastroenterology and oncology, and advanced imaging.

Sean McCormack, Naturalist, Vet and Podcaster

Sean McCormack is a life-long naturalist, a vet by profession and a self-confessed nature nerd. He studied Animal Science at Agricultural College in Essex followed by Veterinary Medicine as a graduate in Dublin at UCD. Having been involved in wildlife conservation in various volunteer capacities over the years, Sean set up his own local conservation organisation where he lives in West London, Ealing Wildlife Group. He regularly leads bat and bird walks, speaks on nature conservation and biodiversity and runs volunteer led habitat creation and management task days in key local habitats. As a passionate foodie living in London, Sean wouldn’t be without the outdoor space of his allotment where he keeps chickens and grows delicious, organic fruit and vegetables. Sean also hosts his very own podcast, Sean’s Wild Life where he discusses wildlife, farming, sustainability, rewilding and our connections to nature. He has ambitions to start a new rewilding project in future.

Jo Oakden FdSc RVN CertCFVHNut ISFMCertFN, BVNA President

Jo graduated from the RVC in 2008 and has since worked in a variety of small animal practices in the UK. Jo is currently the Practice Manager and clinical coach in a first opinion practice in Leicester, alongside being the current BVNA President (2020-2021).

Within her role at the BVNA, Jo sits on Vet Sustains Greener Veterinary Practice working group and wants to help provide nurses with the resources they need to lead the way in practice to be more sustainable. BVNA’s theme this presidential year is Sustainability.

Nicole Paley, Deputy Chief Executive – Communications & Animal Welfare, PFMA

Nicole Paley joined PFMA in 2004 and has responsibility for the Association’s communications, sustainability and animal welfare activities. Nicole participates in the All Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) and the Canine Feline Sector Group (CFSG) in addition to running National Pet Month alongside the National Office of Animal Health. Beyond the UK, Nicole Co-Chaired the Communications Working Group of the European Pet Food Federation (FEDIAF) from 2017-2020 and remains actively involved.

Navaratnam Partheeban, Phibro Animal Health

Theeb is a Farm Animal Veterinary Surgeon and a Dairy Technical Specialist for a global animal health company. He co-founded the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society (BVEDS). Having worked in farm animal clinical practice, he went on to work for a global pharmaceutical company as the Farm Animal Technical Manager for the UK and Ireland followed by being appointed Senior Lecturer in Livestock Production at the Royal Agricultural University. He has recently been awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship 2021 and is an Oxford Farming Conference Emerging Leader 2020. Farming is a huge passion of his, which led him to run his own sheep flock and was closely involved in the management of a calf rearing unit. He has spent time in many other countries researching dairy production and working with dairy farmers.

Claire Robinson-Davies, Corporate Communications Director, Purina

Claire Robinson-Davies is the Corporate Communications Director for Purina UK&I, Nordics and Netherlands and is responsible for corporate, brand and employee communications. She is also Chair of the PFMA’s Sustainability Committee and sits on the PFMA’s Executive Committe.

Becky Sedman BVSc (Hons) MRCVS, Minster Veterinary Practice

Becky graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2018, and for two years worked at an independent small animal practice in Hereford where she undertook several sustainability projects and was also a member of the BSAVA West Midlands Committee. Becky moved back to her home county of Yorkshire at the end of 2020 and joined Minster Veterinary Practice in York. As well as being very passionate about clinical work, Becky has been a long-standing member of the Vet Sustain Greener Veterinary Practice Working Group and has written several articles on sustainability in the veterinary profession. After undertaking an 8 week course on Business Sustainability Management with the University of Cambridge, she became a Referral Associate for Investors in the Environment and also took the exam to become an Associate IEMA member. Becky is the nominated Environmental Champion for Minster, who are currently undertaking their Investors in the Environment accreditation.

Dr Justine Shotton BVSc BSc MSc MRCVS, Marwell Zoo, Hampshire & BVA JVP

Justine graduated from Bristol vet school in 2008, having completed an intercalated degree in Veterinary Pathology at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).  She volunteered in wildlife rehabilitation centres in Guatemala before working for five years in an Oxfordshire mixed practice.  She then went on to graduate from the RVC and Zoological Society of London (ZSL)’s Masters in Wild Animal Health with Distinction in 2014, completing a field research project on cheetah movements in farmlands of Botswana and attending a One Health summer school in South Africa.  She worked at ZSL on native species reintroductions before starting a zoo vet career at Marwell Wildlife in spring 2015.  She is currently Veterinary Services Manager at Marwell, involved with all aspects of the animals’ healthcare and welfare.  She lectures at the University of Surrey, is a trustee of the Animal Welfare Foundation and is the Junior Vice President of the British Veterinary Association.

Ronnie Soutar BVM&S, MSc, MRCVS, Scottish Sea Farms

Ronnie Soutar is a practicing veterinary surgeon who has been involved in aquaculture for over thirty years. He is currently employed as Head of Veterinary Services for Scottish Sea Farms, one of Scotland’s largest salmon farmers.

Ronnie graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 1980 and has worked in general veterinary practice and management as well as fish farming.

He holds an MSc in Aquatic Veterinary Studies from Stirling University and is a Past-President of the Fish Veterinary Society. He represented fish vets on the Scottish Government’s Farmed Fish Health Framework committee and is a current member of the Veterinary Products Committee, advising on veterinary medicine issues in aquaculture.

He is also involved in a variety of equestrian activities, runs a smallholding with sheep and cattle and is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Scottish SPCA.

April Sotomayor, Sustainability Consultant for Investors in the Environment (iiE) and Responsible Resource Use Lead for PECT

April is a Sustainability Consultant at the environmental charity PECT, where she manages the national accreditation scheme Investors in the Environment (iiE). April has over 14 years’ experience working on a range of sustainability issues within organisations. Through the iiE accreditation, she supports veterinary practices to embed Environmental Management Systems and engage staff with activities to tackle climate change and reduce waste.  She supports veterinary practices to implement resource efficiency measures, helping them to demonstrate significant cost, carbon and resource reductions.

Liz Somerville, Director, Loch Leven Equine Practice, VMG

Liz is the Practice Manager and one of the founding Directors at Loch Leven Equine Practice, which was set up in 2005. The practice has grown from a one vet ambulatory practice to a thriving team of 15 people, working from a purpose-built clinic with full surgical facilities. In 2018 Liz completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Business Management with Liverpool University and is also a Director for the VMG.

Alexandra Jane Tomlinson, MA Vet MB MSc PhD Dip ECZM (Wildlife Population Health) MRCVS, Wildlife Health and Veterinary Consultant

Alex qualified as a vet in 1992. With a background in general clinical veterinary practice, Alex went on to specialise in wildlife health, working on conservation projects with Wildlife Vets International http://www.wildlifevetsinternational.org/, most notably the Vincent Wildlife Trust Pine Marten Recovery Project. During this time, Alex developed a keen interest in the pivotal roles that land management and farming practices have on the health of wildlife and the wider ecosystem. Alex now works predominantly on regenerative food systems and land management, with roles in several organisations including sankalpa http://www.oursankalpa.org/, Wilderculture https://www.wilderculture.com/, and FAI Farms http://www.faifarms.com/. Alex is the current Chair of the Food and Farming Working Group of Vet Sustain https://vetsustain.org/ .

Professor the Lord Trees

Lord Trees qualified as a veterinarian in 1969 after which he worked in both general practice and industry. He has spent most of his career at the University of Liverpool, appointed as Professor of Veterinary Parasitology (1994) and Dean of the Vet School (2001–2008). Serving as RCVS President from 2009-2010, he has also Chaired the Moredun Research Institute and is Chief Veterinary Advisor to the Vet Record and In Practice. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2012, he became a Crossbench Peer (through the House of Lords appointments commission) in the House of Lords. He was a member of the House of Lords EU Select Committee and the EU Subcommittee for Energy and Environment from 2014 – 2017. He is currently Co- chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare and Vice-Chair of the APPG on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Ellie West, Clinical Veterinary Anaesthetist and Linnaeus Environmental Sustainability Lead, Linnaeus

Ellie graduated from Cambridge University in 2003 and worked first as an intern in a private referral practice and then as a general practitioner in a first opinion clinic. She has been an anaesthetist since 2006; first as an intern at University College Dublin, Ireland and then as a Clinician-Teacher at the University of Liverpool and now as a clinical anaesthetist at Davies since 2013.  Ellie passed her ECVAA Diploma in 2017 and her interests are in the management of chronic pain and sustainability within the veterinary sector. She is part of the award-winning Green Group at Davies Veterinary Specialists, is an Associate member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and was chosen as Influencer of the Year at the Investors in the Environment Awards in 2020.

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