B. C. government has released a policy on marine veterinary medical care that appears to be the first in the country.
The policy, which was released on Friday, calls for the government to ensure that “a marine veterinary school is a recognized academic institution in BC that has an accredited and registered veterinary residency program.”
It also suggests that BC should be a party to the International Convention for the Protection of All Migratory Birds, which recognizes that the birds can migrate in the BC summer months.
It also includes the requirement that the school be accredited by the B.V.A. and accredited by its own accrediting body, the Canadian Veterinary Association.
But there are other concerns that have been raised, including a requirement for a veterinarian to be trained in the field of marine veterinary medicine.
“The [policy] is a significant step in recognizing and facilitating the growth of marine science in BC and it is the first step to establishing a B.D.V.-accredited veterinary school,” said James Bancroft, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
“It’s a significant first step.”
But many marine veterinarians are concerned that the policy does not adequately protect them from the pressures of working with invasive species.
“I think that it’s really important for the administration to have the knowledge to have a vet-vet relationship with wildlife,” said one marine veterinary practitioner who requested anonymity.
“The whole issue of how to deal with invasive animals is something that we can’t fully control.
But if the government can make that policy and make sure that it does not impact our work, then that’s a positive thing.”
There are some issues with the policy that need to be addressed, said Dr. Bancrot, including the fact that the university has no jurisdiction over the school.
The University of Victoria, meanwhile, has issued a statement calling for the school to have an accreditation with the BC Veterinary Association, which would give it a licence to work in the province.
“The University would be happy to assist in the process and is in the early stages of a process to formally establish a veterinary school at BC,” the statement read.
“However, it is also important to recognize that we do not have any control over the institution and cannot determine the academic standards that are applied.”
“It’s very important that we know that the [registration] process is rigorous,” said Dr.-Sydney Cote, an associate professor of marine medicine at the university.
“I think it’s a good idea to have something that is.
You can’t get away with not having one.”
The province has not yet announced a timetable for the accreditation process.