National Awards for UK’s Top Animal Health Advisors

The UK’s best new SQPs or Suitably Qualified Persons, have been named at a special ceremony in Birmingham during the annual AHDA (Animal Health Distributors’ Association) Conference.

Specialising in farm animal, equine and companion animal health, the three award winners got the highest scores in their professional examinations, beating hundreds of other students.

Joshua Cridge left, Katherine Hest centre, and Anne-Marie Wright on the right.

Joshua Cridge left, Katherine Hest centre, and Anne-Marie Wright on the right.

The highest grade for an R-SQP, covering livestock, companion animal and equine health, was gained by Anne-Marie Wright of Anglia Farmers in Norfolk, who was also awarded the AHDA Cup for Overall Highest Achieving SQP from an AHDA member. Joshua Cridge, who works as a pet groomer at Pets At Home in Bridgwater, Somerset was named top C-SQP, specialising in treatments for companion animals, and Katherine Hest, of online equine retailer, Supplement Solutions, is this year’s top equine SQP.

Prizes were announced by Stephen Dawson, Secretary General of AMTRA (Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority), the professional regulator for SQPs, and presented by the BBC’s Rural Affairs Correspondent, Tom Heap with representatives of the category sponsors.

“I couldn’t believe I’d won!” says Joshua Cridge, who also has a degree in Animal Management from Bournemouth University. “This award has given me great confidence,” explains Joshua, “a large part of my job is about educating customers – many animal owners still don’t realise how important it is to give the right dose of the right treatment and at the correct frequency.”

Anne-Marie Wright agrees that the qualification has given a solid foundation to her work. “I talk to farmers every day. By becoming an SQP I now have a much greater understanding of products and what’s in them,” she says, “I can offer my customers a variety of products that I know are right for the job.”

Some 875 SQPs qualified in 2014, bringing the total number of SQPs working in veterinary practices, pet shops, equine suppliers and country stores across the UK to well over 6000.

“SQPs are a growing force in the animal health sector,” says Stephen Dawson of AMTRA, “they are often at the front line, reinforcing important messages about animal health to livestock, horse and pet owners. This year’s top three SQPs are a great example of how committed SQPs are to improving the health and welfare of animals,” he concludes.


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