BVNA support the veterinary nursing profession by providing membership, representation, CPD, and so much more. Animal welfare is also of the utmost importance to us, as we know it is to all of our members.

Kim Rathbone, RVN and current Council Member, has spearheaded a group of BVNA Council Members to consider the welfare of pets kept in a classroom or school environment, and how schools can be educated on responsible pet ownership. Here is what Kim has to say:

“Since becoming a Registered Veterinary Nurse I have always been passionate about animal welfare and preventative healthcare. Whilst working full time in practice I can do this via my nurse consultations whereby I can provide advice clients on nutrition, exercise, behaviour and preventative healthcare. An area of interest outside of work is to look at ways to help schools with animals being kept in the classroom, something I have not been able to explore fully until becoming a Council Member for the BVNA.

“BVNA Council recently formed a Task and Finish Group to investigate ways to help to improve the conditions of pets currently being kept in schools. The toolkit we have developed has helpful resources from organisations such as The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF), The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT), The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) and The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF). It is available for all teachers and is a free and easy access resource with downloadable content to help educate you on how you can improve the lives of animals being kept in schools.

“Within the toolkit you will find resources and podcasts, plus a downloadable jigsaw that can printed off to teach children about The Five Animal Welfare Freedoms. The Five Freedoms is a widely accepted evidence-based framework that captures the key aspects of animal welfare in one model. This model looks at the physiological needs of animals to include freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from fear and distress. We want schools to able to provide a stress-free environment for pets and ensure that all animals receive the correct diet, accommodation and healthcare that will help provide a stress-free lifestyle.

“The toolkit is something I am extremely passionate about as I am keen to help educate schools, teachers, parents and children on responsible pet ownership. It will be regularly updated to provide more useful content to include videos, podcasts, factsheets and games.”

The BVNA Welfare of Pets in Schools Toolkit is available here.

BVNA would like to thank the following organisations who have contributed content to the BVNA Welfare of Pets in Schools toolkit: