In 2016, Theeb and Issa co-founded BVEDS (British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society)
after realising that there was no support for BAME vets, nurses and students facing
discrimination in the profession. Both overt and covert forms of racism have a real impact
on the mental wellbeing of our BAME colleagues, particularly in a profession as white (97%)
as vet med. Peer support, by those with similar lived experiences and educating the wider
profession is key to creating a truly inclusive profession.
Over the years, we have created a website, twitter account and facebook group. This is to allow us to share awarness of the issues regarding race and ethnicity in the profession, but also share knowledge and information about tackling issues and celebrating difference. Our facebook page has allowed a safespace for those wanting to discuss issues which can be very personal at times helping find both emotional and educational support. Our work has also included speaking at conferences, recording podcasts and writing articles.
In 2019, we brought together a working group to help share ideas and workload to help BVEDS grow in what it could provide. The group was made up of a diversity of people in experience and roles within the profession.
Working on diversity and inclusion has not been easy, especially in a profession that is still very exclusive in membership. With hard work in our own time and on a voluntary basis, we have been successful in a number of achievements including co-delivering the first veterinary diversity conference in the UK along with other allied groups, creating the first course on Race and the Veterinary Profession for Nottingham University Veterinary School and co-running the first and largest nationwide Survey on Racism in the Veterinary Sector with the Royal Veterinary College.
Not only have we supported inclusion into the veterinary profession, but are supporting the agricultural and farming sector having done work with the Royal Agricultural University, McDonalds, National Farmers Union and Tescos.