1966. The year England won the World Cup, Twiggy became the world’s first supermodel and The Beatles topped the charts. And the Veterinary Surgeons Act was passed. 60 years later, life has changed. And yet the original Veterinary Surgeons Act (VSA) remains.
The legislation that was suitable 60 years ago is no longer fit for purpose for today’s veterinary sector.

“The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 is no longer fit for purpose.
Support our campaign for new legislation
to protect animal health and welfare in the 21st century.”
Sue Paterson, FRCVS, RCVS President.

Read more about our

As the regulator for the veterinary professions, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is proposing a new Veterinary Surgeons Act. Our proposals will ensure legislation that is modern, principles-based and future-proofed, minimising Parliamentary time to amend it.

Informed by the findings of a four-year year review of the existing legislation followed by a public consultation, our proposal prioritises public trust and confidence in veterinary professionals as well as animal health and welfare and public health.

Detailed information
about our consultation

Why a new Veterinary Surgeons Act is urgently needed

Below you’ll hear from veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and allied professionals including veterinary technicians, veterinary physiotherapists, cattle foot trimmers and equine dental technicians describing the limitations of the existing Veterinary Surgeons Act and why new legislation is required.


Farm case

Mixed practice
case studies

Small animal
case studies

Public health
case studies

Key numbers

Across the UK, veterinary professionals provide care and expertise to your constituents’ animals. Over half of the UK population own pets1, with the pet care sector valued at around £6.2 billion and 1.8 million people ride horses regularly2 with the equestrian sector valued at £4.7 billion in consumer spending.

The UK is rightly proud of our world-leading approach to public health and animal welfare; the role of veterinary professions in the public health and farming sectors is vital in upholding these standards.

Veterinary services are a vital element in the UK’s agricultural sector which employs c.500,000 people, delivering £127bn to the economy in 20193. Veterinary professionals work in a variety of contexts with different species, and in multiple sectors. While the work differs hugely, the requirement for a new Veterinary Surgeons Act is widely supported4.