Podcast Special: Britain’s farm vets – an endangered species?

Britain faces a shortage of farm vets – with recruitment and retention posing key challenges for veterinary practices and the future of the sector.

Industry insiders estimate there are more than 3,000 veterinary job vacancies across the UK – with big implications for the livestock producers who rely on them.

See also: Vet survey reveals serious challenges ahead

What are the reasons for these challenges? And what are the prospects for new entrants looking for a successful veterinary career?

Combining the expertise of Harper Adams and Keele universities, a new vet school aims to encourage a new generation to enter the profession.

But will it succeed? Are farm vets really an endangered species? Or is there a bright future for vets who provide a vital service to UK livestock farmers?


With thanks to  the Harper & Keele Vet School, the British Veterinary AssociationXLVetsVetPartnersLLM Vets and everyone who contributed to this episode.

Featuring Sarah Tomlinson, (vet and technical director of the TB Advisory Service), Cheshire dairy farmer Richard Blackburn,  Hannah Batty (LLM Vets), Italian vet Alphonso Camassa, Ian Cure (VetPartners), Andrew Curwen (XLVets), James Russell (British Veterinary Association), Jane Richardson (Harper & Keele Vet School) and Professor of Sustainable Livestock Health and Welfare Jonathan Statham.

Vet roundtable

Farmers Weekly’s veterinary roundtable meeting © MAG/Colin Miller

Thanks to our sponsors for making this article possible. Farmers Weekly had full editorial control of this report.

Sponsors’ messages

Vet Partners

Vet partners logo

VetPartners is at the forefront of the farm industry evolution, enhancing the health of livestock and supporting farmers to be more productive, efficient and sustainable. We are committed to investing in our people, our practices and the latest technology and providing the very best advice to help UK agriculture grow.

Sharing knowledge and listening to the farming community is key to helping shape the future of the industry, which is why we are proud to support this survey.


xl vets

XLVets is a thriving community of independent, farm veterinary practices. Members of our community are proud of their independent status and the freedom it provides to focus on our patients, clients and people.

As a community, our members are committed to working together, sharing knowledge and experience to deliver the highest standards of livestock healthcare.

With increasing recognition of how sustainable farming and food production will evolve, we stand ready to support our clients to meet new ways of working for the benefit of animals, farmers, society and the planet.

Inevitably, there are challenges ahead for many of us and this survey will help us identify what some of those might be. We thank you for your participation.