Vet School heading to Aberystwyth?

ABERYSTWYTH University are exploring plans to become the first veterinary school in Wales.

IBERS will be offering a veterinary biosciences degree from 2015 with graduates being able to gain vet-related jobs, but not carry out animal surgery.

At present, there are no Welsh universities which provide full MRCVS (Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) accredited veterinary qualifications. However Aberystwyth, with its expertise in the field of animal science through the internationally-regarded IBERS institute, is in a prime position to fill the current gap.

Elin Jones, local Plaid Cymru Assembly member for Ceredigion, has called on the Welsh Government to give more support to efforts to establish a veterinary school in Aber and raised the issue with the Education Minister in the National Assembly stating that:

“The lack of Vet training is a significant gap in Welsh higher education. There exists in Aberystwyth a strong base of teaching expertise and research to fill the void”

She went on to say that:

“However, the process is not straightforward, as the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) retains, through an Act of Parliament of 1966, a de facto veto on deciding which institutions can award the full qualification. This ‘closed shop’ situation seems to me an anomaly in an age where most of the responsibility for education and animal health are now devolved. I have called on the Welsh Government to lobby more strongly with the Higher Education Funding Council and the RCVS to support Aberystwyth’s efforts to develop its provision in this area. This, potentially, is a real opportunity for the University, and the Welsh Government should be doing all that it can to help.”

Elin Jones AM Photo - Elin Jones flickr

Elin Jones AM
Photo – Elin Jones flickr

A university spokesperson stated that:

“[The University] plays a leading role in agriculture both within Wales and internationally, especially in the area of pastoral agriculture. We are expanding our work in animal science through teaching and research, and in doing so work closely with the Welsh Government, private veterinary practices and industry.

In partnership, we believe we can play a key role to help meet the opportunities and challenges faced by the livestock sector and food suppliers, particularly for the benefit of the rural economy of Wales, but with an international reach.  This includes the exploring the potential of a new Veterinary School for Wales at Aberystwyth to ensure that the future veterinary needs of Wales are appropriately catered for”.