Illegal Activity In Our Industry Publicly Outed On BBC Documentary

BBC iPlayer

It’s no secret that the animal scanning industry has been infiltrated by rogue elements over the last few years. The Animal Ultrasound Association has led the fight against unethical, poor quality ultrasound training practices since 2016, but for every person that we educate, there’s someone new to the industry just starting out and being drawn in by false promises and flashy marketing on the internet.

Many of these people will be left feeling dissatisfied, and come to us for advice on where to get retrained. But equally, there are many others who believe that because they’ve parted with their money, they’re now ‘entitled’ to scan animals, and they go ahead and do it anyway. Perhaps they really do believe that a piece of paper backed by nobody “qualifies” them to scan, or perhaps they just don’t want to accept the amount of money they’ve just wasted on inadequate training. Either way, the victims of this experience now also extend to their future clients and, of course, their animals.

It is our belief that ultrasound should only be taught by ultrasound professionals qualified to teach, but obtaining external support for this is a very, very long road. It’s also a road many of us never wanted to go down. Do we really want to have to spend more time on courses teaching record-keeping and form-filling than scanning? Not really. But it’s the way it will go if (likely when) scanning becomes regulated. Prior to the arrival of ‘anyone can teach it’ ultrasound courses, lay scanners worked in close partnership with their veterinarians (with clients being referred back and forth), knew their limits, used only safe equipment that was fit for purpose, and became true experts in their field. Lay scanners were liked and respected. Now, the situation could not be more different, with the reputation of our industry at an all-time low, total distrust from the veterinary profession, and confusion among the general public about who to turn to.

It’s not all bad news. Reputable, well trained scanners retain their close relationships with their vets and clients, and definitely stand out from the crowd – but for people just starting with scanning, gaining trust is definitely a bigger mountain to climb than ever before.

The practices filmed undercover by the BBC weren’t just unethical, they were illegal. This may prompt a response from the authorities, but ultimately, this is just the tip of the iceberg and it’s all been very well known – and frequently reported – for years. The authorities have given unscrupulous companies carte blanche with their inaction, and share in the responsibility for the harm that is being done to the health of our pets.


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