NON-veterinary ownership of vet practices has reduced animal care and raised prices.
The problems of the veterinary profession are highlighted again in your article “Investigation over concerns pet owners are being overcharged” (March 13).

It is only a few months since the non-treatment of thousands of sick animals in Scotland was highlighted when your newspaper identified a lethal breach of trust towards millions of defenceless animals (“No paws in takeovers; Almost half of Scottish vets practices are no longer independent”, October 22, 2023).

It appears, therefore, that animals are not being treated but customers are being overcharged. It may be that these maladies are linked and that the cause is all too visible. The veterinary profession is founded upon a public service monopoly in the providing of treatment to sick animals in exchange for fees paid. Previously, only qualified vets were allowed to exercise that monopoly.

In order to achieve access to that valuable monopoly, veterinary surgeons require to have studied and undergone training for many years, postponing their earning potential during these years, and require also to achieve appropriate examination standards. The sacrifices entailed are likely to demonstrate a motivation including love of animals. Only qualified veterinary surgeons were entitled to own and control veterinary practices. That was all good.

Then, in the 1990s, it was decided that the public service monopoly was contrary to the requirements of competition in the market. That is a doctrine which has done dreadful damage in a number of areas, including veterinary practice. 

During that decade, investment companies were authorised to purchase the ownership and control of veterinary practices. There was no need for study, examination, training or years of sacrifices, and the love of animals was replaced by the love of money.

This presents the veterinary profession with a huge and irreconcilable conflict of interests. On the one hand, their vocation is to provide the best possible affordable care for animals, which was the basis of the public service monopoly. On the other hand, their practices are owned and controlled by investment companies whose legal obligation is to provide the best return to shareholders, as promoted by reduced care and higher prices.

Once that course of events is understood, there is no surprise whatsoever in either of your above reports and, for as long as we allow the interests of competition to prevail over professional standards, we can only wait for further and worse stories in the same vein in the veterinary and other professions.
Michael Sheridan, Scotstoun, Glasgow.


A message for Netanyahu
I WAS pleased to read the letters from “Liberal Jews for Justice in Israel/Palestine” published on March 11 and 12 under the heading, “Many Scots Jews are proud to stand up for peace in Gaza”.

In a previous letter, I indicated that on my visits to the West Bank and Israel I met with rabbis and other Jewish Israelis who actively opposed Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. I have been taking a close interest in Jewish organisations at home and in Israel which take a humane stance in relation to the current appalling events in Israel, Gaza and on the West Bank.

There is one such group, Jewish Voice for Labour, (JVL) which, as a non-Jew, I support as a “Solidarity Member”. I suggest your readers read the organisation’s Statement of Principles online, from which I briefly quote: “We stand for rights and justice for Jewish people everywhere, and against wrongs and injustice to Palestinians and oppressed peoples anywhere”.

I particularly draw your readers’ attention to the JVL website heading, “To be a Jew means always being with the oppressed, never with the oppressors”. Tell that to Benjamin Netanyahu.
John Milne, Uddingston. 


The darker side of ‘gallus’
INTERESTING to note Alison Ram’s view on the connection of the word Gallus gallous (relating to chickens) and the City of Glasgow (letters, March 12). Certainly, “gallus”, in the sense of mischievous and with a swagger, relates to Glaswegian behaviour.  However I understood it derived from the word “gallows” (as in Gallowgate) which has a much darker and sad history.  Perhaps some more enlightened reader will pass comment.
Allan C Steele, Giffnock.


Radio Scotland has went off the ball
AM I alone in becoming extremely frustrated and concerned about the performance of  some sub-standard presenters and output from BBC Radio Scotland? 

The station has some excellent, intelligent, articulate presenters but others are cringeworthy to the extent that I switch off. The pre-9am news programme is normally excellent with brilliant presenters although  there are a few exceptions. Then 9am-12noon, when Kaye Adams is off, and some 4pm-6pm Drivetime is often presented by inarticulate, lightweight hosts.

Perhaps I am old school but if it is becoming acceptable to have presenters on national radio unable to express themselves properly, I am happy to be old school. 

There was a presenter last week who could not finish her words - “wha” (what), “righ” (right), “abou” (about), “migh” (might). Then there is the Glasgow thing - “went”, “I have went….”, “it has went…”. Do teachers in Glasgow actually teach this?

And speaking of presenters, my next rant concerns Off the Ball – a couple of self-obsessed, embarrassing Weegies in a mortifying world of their own.

Thank goodness there are alternatives such as Radio 4, LBC and Times Radio, where presenters tend to be on a different level. Come on, Radio Scotland, you can do better.
Douglas Cowe, Newmachar, Aberdeenshire.


Royal photo, finish
IN reference to the Princess of Wales and her photograph, what on earth is all the fuss about? On a scale of one to 10 regarding world events, it must be a one – and even that is stretching it.
John Palfreyman, Coupar Angus.

WE’VE all heard enough. Tidying up a family photo is wrong if it’s done for deception, financial exploitation or warlike gain. It wasn’t.
Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.