Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
friendship without envy, or beauty without vanity?
Here where grace is laced with muscle and strength by gentleness confined.
Lines from ‘The Horse’ by Ronald Duncan. © (Copyright of) the Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation
I was reading an article the other day and thought , they are odd bedfellows, profit hungry firms and animal welfare practices. It seems that there has been a call for Equity Giants to be investigated as more than half of Uk Veterinary practices are now owned by six companies, creating a monopoly.
In advertising, subliminal methods are used all the time to encourage us to make purchases , we are encouraged …. subliminally to think we need some new cream or a particular car to live happy lives. So this works on that psychological spectrum , as pet owners know only too well , a sick animal is family , our defences come down when we go in search of urgent help. So does that make us animal lovers perfect prey for the profit hungry companies? It would appear so, if the newspaper reports are true.
There are stories of pet owners having problems with some private equity vets, being in some way held to ransom, by the prices of out of hours clinics in an emergency. I read that Tory peer Lord Blencathra has become involved and doesn’t want our pets health to be in the hands of venture capital firms and asks for an ‘immediate freeze’ on private companies buying UK veterinary practices, which sounds very sensible.
It seems Medivet, has more than 300 practices and is part-owned by Inflexion Private Equity, which has referred to its vets as ‘cash-generating units’. IVC Evidensia owns 993 vet practices out of around 6,000 in total. It’s owned by Swedish private equity group EQT, with food giant Nestle holding a minority stake. Where did James Herriot and his values and priorities go, all the while we remain in the dark about these mergers and the price links between what we had imagined were different vet practises. Worse, where does that leave the sick animals belonging those unable to meet the inflated costs?
In the meantime , I realise that the majority of vets and their teams have only animal welfare at the forefront of their actions, if they answer the equity companies or not. However , If this take over bothers you, as it does me , you might like to check out your own vets status .