Official Veterinarians are veterinary professionals who work in abattoirs and meat processing plants to ensure all meat is being produced safely, while protecting animal welfare across all stages. It’s a crucial role which makes a significant contribution to public health, often going unnoticed by the public, despite the huge impact it has.

The majority of UK graduates go into clinic work, working with small animals in veterinary practices, with graduates rarely choosing to go into Official Veterinarian roles. In light of this shortage, raising awareness of veterinary public health careers is vital, to ensure we can safeguard the welfare of animals and keep food production safe.

Eve Stockton is one of our recent new starters, joining from the University of Bristol after completing a work experience placement with us last summer. She chose to do the Official Veterinarian course as a final year elective at university, seeing this as an essential role for protecting animals and consumers.

We caught up with Eve to find out how her first few months have gone…


How have your first few months gone? Were they what you were expecting?

I’ve really enjoyed my first few months in the job. Being a relief has meant that I’ve travelled to many different plants in my area and had the opportunity to see and learn a lot about the differences for each species in plant. As I am very passionate about this subject I was expecting to enjoy my work, however I significantly underestimated how much I would enjoy working with so many different people from different cultures and backgrounds. Being a part of multidisciplinary teams like this has been a fantastic experience and really enriched my work in a way I was not anticipating.


What is your favourite part of the Official Veterinarian role?

My favourite part about the OV role is feeling like you are having a direct impact on such an important industry. You are on the front line for ensuring food safety and animal welfare within the meat industry, and the potential to make a difference is huge.


How do you think your work experience prepared you for the role?

I think the work experience I did with E&J was extremely beneficial for my role. Prior to this I had only visited small slaughterhouses, so this allowed me the opportunity to see the other end of the scale of a much larger throughput plant that does a lot of exports. This really broadened my perspective of what the role of an Official Veterinarian can be, as well as the other opportunities available within the company.


What are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to continuing my training at other plants, developing my knowledge and skills to improve my confidence in this role. I’m also excited about the new people I may meet along the way, and the opportunities that may arise within this role in the future.


Why do you think the Official Veterinarian role is so important?

Official Veterinarians are on the frontline for food safety and animal welfare within the meat industry in the UK. The work done by OVs and MHIs will directly impact millions of people within the UK and the rest of the world with the food that makes its way onto supermarket shelves and is exported across the globe. This work is not only vital, but a fantastic network to be a part of.


What would you say to veterinary students visiting an abattoir for the first time?

I would firstly congratulate them for wanting to try something different and broaden their knowledge of this industry. I would also say it’s important to keep an open mind, and not be afraid to ask lots of questions – it’s a fantastic opportunity to expand on and apply your veterinary skills in a unique way. Chatting with people and getting stuck in where you can is the best way to learn.


Want to know more about a career in veterinary public health? Head to to see our current opportunities and learn about our work experience placements.