Going to vet college was one of the best things I have ever done. Graduating was one of the worst. College gave me a home and a family for 5 years, and then it was over and we all went our separate ways. I still haven't recovered.
PS - If you are struggling with any aspect of veterinary life and think I can help please get in touch. I have obviously struggled a lot with some of the ethical implications of what vets do, but I have also been bullied (I was actually sat down in my first practice for a cosy seminar on how I would be bullied and what rewards I might qualify for if I just accepted that), depressed (I used to drink myself to sleep a lot in my first practice) and psychologically crushed by the relentless pressure to be enthusiastic, confident, friendly, supportive and clinically perfect on demand, day or night.
I have struggled with imposter syndrome (I was such a crap vet I think I was just an imposter actually), guilt (over mistakes), rage (when things got too much), and, like you may be doing now, I buried it all under a fake personality because I wanted to fit in. You invest so much to get there, but there's just no way of knowing how you will respond when you finally start and if any of this sounds familiar, and you don't feel you have anywhere better to turn, please send me a message. You're not as trapped as you may feel. I'm not sure I can recommend publicly criticising the entire profession in a crappy tabloid newspaper, but some bridges can be burnt if needs be. If it's a choice between professional suicide and actual suicide, professional suicide is always better. It worked for me.
PPS - I sincerely apologise if I upset you and you didn't deserve it. I was in a tough place.
PPPS - I also sincerely apologise if I didn't upset you and you did deserve it
"In Australia I did dozens of AIs on bulldogs...Looks like you escaped natural selection….did you go straight onto formula after birth? Grow up Matthew. Take the dummy out of your mouth. Go and get a real non-job in Brussels…maybe something to do with the humane recycling of CO2 and Methane in cows. Please dont come south of the equator.”
Michael Aitken, Veterinary Surgeon
“I have now realised who you remind me of, just couldn’t think of it for days, but now…… You are the David Icke of veterinary medicine and natural history...Please take a look at [this image of David Icke ] and then the photo of matthew watkinson on this site. Hell, the likeness doesn’t end there…..”
Ian Hart, MA, VetMB, MRCVS (“Hart vets are dedicated to providing quality health care with compassion.”)
“...it sounds to me like you are trying to be controversial just for the sake of it. Maybe I could have salvaged some respect for you if you truly believed the spurious crap you are spouting. However, if your admitted self-doubt is genuine then the hurt you feel at being ostracised by the entire profession has been brought upon yourself. Just deserts for being an arrogant arse trying to court attention and wrapping it up in a cloak of moral outrage and pseudo-intellectualism!”
Delwyn Barker BvetMed MRCVS, Afon Veterinary Centre (“We know how much you care for your pet and we do too.”)
“He wrote as if his name was already in three-inch gold embossed letter on the cover of a bestseller, instead of the reality of it being a smudged byline in yesterday’s rag – excreted on by the animals he hasn’t the wit to treat.”
Sue Fitzmaurice, BVSc, MRCVS, The Ralph (“When at work, Sue can usually be found having cuddles with our patients.”)
"If I were Matthew I would be ashamed too, not because he was a vet but because of his utterly shameful attempts at self promotion. Matthew has written a book and has been trying for more than a year to promote himself as a TV celebrity [NB - This is bollocks. I honestly thought I had something important to say]. To see that he has resorted to this shocking, sensationalist, head-line grabbing tactic smacks of desperation and does him no credit. Matthew’s ill informed article, criticizing small animal vets, makes no mention of the fact that Matthew has never worked as a small animal vet. His brief career was restricted to the treatment of farm animals, principally dairy cows. Any information contained therein is therefore hear say at best and complete fabrication at worst."
Steve Warren BVetMed MRCVS
"I have a penchant for the Frenchie [French Bulldogs] - I go just a little bit gooey every time I meet one [with their] deformed faces. And bodies. And soft palates. And tails. And pretty much everything related to their appearance...as cute as I find creatures with squished faces...a Bernese tends to become a cancer factory once it reaches puberty [so they're] great for people who love puppies, because you get a new one every few years."
I truly believe Matthew to be a fundamentalist [against torture-breeding], and as such there can not be a truly rational discussion, so I shan’t attempt it...he will only ever be known within the profession as a man who blew the whistle that wasn’t there...These views [opposing selective torture-breeding] were once popular, both in America and Nazi Germany during the eugenics movements and thankfully are now generally ridiculed.”
Oli Viner BvetMed MRCVS, Blythwood Vets (“A complete and caring service for your pets.")
"I have no sympathy that you have lost many friends...I will never believe you are interested in animal welfare...you need to accept that you will be partly responsible for animal suffering from the article printed in the Daily Mail. Just as Hitler was responsible for all those deaths as it was his views, which people believed, which then led to the deaths.”
“When you have quite finished throwing your rattle out of the pram….All of these things do give me concerns for your state of mind...I pity you...Genuinely – I really do hope that you put your ego to one side and will seek help...Genuinely I do advise you to seek help...I do feel sorry for you...I do actually feel sorry for you...Please confirm that you will not be renewing your membership of RCVS next year – or is Hypocrite to be added to your list of virtues?”
Bob Partridge BVM&S Dipl. EVDC MRCVS, Member of the RCVS Council
"...[there is] an agenda of media sales and commercial gain under a thinly veiled guise of taking the moral high ground."
Dr Richard Dixon BVMS CertVR MRCVS (outgoing president of the British Small Animal veterinary Association and founder of Vets Now LTD )
“Firstly I have seen such a massive change in you as this entire journey has gone through its evolution; from the initial embryonic unhappiness to the fully fledged monster that has reared this week. I feel I have stood by you as best as I can, but it has been draining. Secondly it also greatly saddens me that you appear to have accepted that this project is going to loose you friends – and then still embraced it fully. I partially admire you for having the balls to do this for a cause you strongly believe in, but I do not think it is going to work out well for you in the long term. I do not mean this to sound wicked in any way but I know you don’t form close friendships easily and I fear that you will loose a group of people who you hold close to you. Do we really mean that little to you? You mention in your text that we are “friends first and vets second”. That is not true Matthew."
Tom Waterworth BvetMed MRCVS, Bilton Vets ("We CARE for you and your pet!")
"Vets are involved in every area where animals are exploited, such as rearing food animals, supervising the welfare of laboratory animals, all sorts of events involving horses...In that real world, it is fine for pedigree dogs to exist...We know that all that breed defect stuff is not new…try naming a breed worth mentioning that does not come with its own list of potential problems...by definition, pedigree breeding means limiting the gene pool, and with that comes an increased risk of fixing in undesirable traits...if you want to keep pedigree dogs [like he does] – and it seems that a large majority do – you will just have to accept [like he has] that some degree of genetic risk goes along with the inbreeding involved...The [anti torture-breeding] argument that Matthew is putting forward comes from a fundamentalist animal rights viewpoint."
Bradley Viner BVetMed MSc(VetGP) DProf MRCVS (RCVS council member)
"More ridiculous arguments! Claiming that the problem is that we profit from sick animal is such a stupid argument...you may be maintaining interest within some small groups of people who are 'anti-vets' but the rest of us are bored silly with your 'opinions...I urge the RCVS to consider removing Mr Watkinson’s name from the register for bringing the profession into disrepute”
Steve Smith BVetMed(Hons.), CertZooMed, MRCVS
The New Lives in the Wild documentary stirred up a lot of emotion for me about torture-breeders and their enablers. I started getting angry again, which is something I really don't want to do. I've already tried that and all it got me was successfully branded as a nazi conspiracy theorist by my colleagues and friends, a "fundamentalist monster" as some veterinary torture breeding enthusiasts put it.
I couldn't even convince the whole veterinary profession that torture breeding is vile ffs, never mind that enabling it is a bloody good way of achieving the 10% annual practice growth they all want.
Yes, The Daily Fail mangled the message a bit, but if you can't convince enough vets that torture breeding is wrong, how can you convince enough anybody of anything? The brick wall of self-defence is way too hard for my head so I gave up on activism. We moved to a muddy welsh field to get away from all that. M