Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick on discomfort with ‘pet owner’ phrase ‘we don’t have ownership’

Speaking to Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, the “miracle working” vet discussed his new book, Being the Supervet: How Animals Saved My Life. He admitted that the veterinarian industry could “do more” for animals and their welfare and opened up on terminology he is uncomfortable with.

Speaking about the contents of Noel’s book, Tim asked: “You don’t like to call yourself a pet owner, do you?”

“No I do not,” the 53-year-old replied. “I do not believe guys that we have ownership of life.

“I think we have guardianship and we have the wonderment of having that love in our lives.

“And I think we need to ask permission to have that love in our lives.”

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Alluding to his pets, dog Keira and cat Ricochet, he continued: “So when I get these two beautiful animal friends in my life, they’re part of my family.

“So I call them family members and I think people like this – I bumped into a guy in a pub in north London when it was still possible to have a pint in a pub in north London.

“And he walked up to me, covered in tats and he gave me a punch in the shoulder – never seen him in my life before.

“And he said ‘thanks very much for making me the daddy.'”

Laughing, Simon agreed: “I do think most people think of their pets as family.”

“It’s an expression certainly we use with our dog, definitely.”

Earlier in the interview, the Irish TV vet admitted that he thinks the industry could do more.

As a world-class orthopaedic-neuro veterinary surgeon, Noel would like to see the kind of work he does become more mainstream.

“The reason it hasn’t is that I think we’re going to need to take moral responsibility as a profession going forward to invest money in research and development,” he said.

“And I think that we need to reinvest the money that people make it practice for the benefit of the animals rather than for the benefit of the people who invest in the practices.

“I feel very strongly about this and I feel that for advance to happen in a full environment it needs to be funded and people need to be aware it’s available and people need to be aware that they have all the options.

“And I don’t think vets should be about doing relatively simple things that we’ve done for 30 years and making maximum money on profit.

“I think it needs to be about reinvesting that for the benefit of all animals and for their welfare.”

He continued: “I’ll give you an example, we have cancer drugs that we’ve had for 25 years – we could do better.

“We have implants that we’ve had for 25 years, we could do better. And my dream is that human and animal medicine will move forward together.

“So it requires cooperation from veterinary and human medicine to make that happen.”

Sunday Brunch airs weekly at 9.30am on Channel 4.

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