Real life

Are vets the new transgenders?

27 January 2018

9:00 AM

27 January 2018

9:00 AM

The vet who is unhappy that I cracked a joke about vets has received the backing of the British Veterinary Association.

This strangely brittle organisation, having nothing better to do, apparently, has put out a fantastically pious statement denouncing me for daring to joke that vets are expensive and that some seem keen to diagnose the worst-case scenario.

The BVA posted its statement on social media, an action that inevitably led to the usual snowflakestorm: how very dare I make fun of (fill in offended group)… Fine, asI said last week I’m happy to do away with humour if that’s what people want. Let’s just deal with the facts.

A young vet — not my usual one butI liked her very much — came to look at the swelling on Gracie’s leg and said it could be a suspensory ligament injury. I wanted to start from the premise that the injury wasto the tendon sheath, a less serious matter, and work up. So when she suggested she might have to poke and prod the pony with needles to do diagnostic nerve blocking I took umbrage. In the offending column, I joked about the expense, quipping that I would need my nerves blocking if the vet reacted in this way.

But the serious point that I didn’t make then, because it wasn’t funny, but I’ll make now, seeing as the BVA doesn’t appreciate my humour, is that my primary motivation was to make sure the pony did not go through more discomfort than absolutely necessary.

And when my usual vet came, he agreed it was reasonable to assume initially that this was a pull to the tendon sheath requiring no invasive diagnostics, just field rest then gentle rehabilitation exercise. If that didn’t work, we would investigate more serious options.

Two months on, she is almost better. So the older vet and I have been proved right. Right? Not according to the BVA, which, with astonishing hubris, says that it is ‘defending the professional opinion of the (younger) vet mentioned…

‘The younger vet, who Ms Kite denigrates, gave a well-considered opinion offering treatment choices and explaining the options…


‘As a profession, we are very proud of the skills level of our graduates, and also in our application of gold standard care through evidence-based practice…’

Blah blah blah. Would you listen to the sanctimonious tone of this stuff?

‘It is a shame that Ms Kite feels the need to question and undermine this…’

I’m not undermining anything! I’m cracking a joke about vets, you nincompoops!

‘…especially as the veterinary profession is one that already experiences high levels of stress.’

Oh please.

‘Unfortunately, opinions and behaviour such as these [sic] can only add to the problem.’

Behaviour? What behaviour? How is telling a funny story about something that happened to you ‘behaviour’?

Look, as for these tender young graduate vets they claim to be defending — more millennials who don’t like being made fun of? Quelle surprise. But I am surprised at the British Veterinary Association. Has it really got nothing better to do than to sit around failing to get jokes?

I rang the BVA and they insisted they had to speak up for their 17,000 members. Jeepers, I said, have I upset 17,000 vets? ‘No,’ said the lady, ‘but we have 17,000 members, many of whom were upset about being the butt of your joke.’

‘Fine,’ I said, ‘how many were upset?’ ‘The number doesn’t matter,’ she said. Yes it does! If one deranged vet wearing his underpants on his head has threatened to push a hoof pick up his nose unless I eat my words, you don’t need to back him. Maybe just call a locked ambulance. If several thousand vets have jammed the switchboard, then maybe I will concede I have upset too many people. ‘Just tell me. How many vets have complained?’

‘How many would you deem enough?’ she said, rather facetiously. ‘I don’t deem,’
I said. ‘You misunderstand me again. I’m not an official body that does anything as highfalutin as deeming. I just think that because you are giving the impression I’ve upset a shed-load of vets, I have a right to know how many.’

And then she says an interesting thing: ‘This isn’t about whether it’s two, five, ten or 1,000.’

Yes it is! If it’s two vets with their pants on their heads, I’m not worrying. But if it’s 1,000, I’m maybe going to think twice before I crack a joke about vets again because maybe it’s not worth the hassle. Maybe vets are the new transgenders. Maybe vets are some scary-ass group of professional offence-taking powerbrokers I’m not going to bother to make humour out of.

She says she is going to go away and ask her boss if he will tell me the number.

I wait with baited breath…

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