The Yorkshire Vet: Star of Channel 5 series Shona Searson says ‘we need more farm vets’ and urges public to support British farmers

More young people have been inspired to become vets after watching The Yorkshire Vet, star of the show Shona Searson said as she urged the public to continue to support British farmers.

Shona Searson, from West Yorkshire, was inspired by her mother to study veterinary medicine.

Shona, who grew up around farmers, graduated as a vet in 2012 and has worked in mixed practice Donaldson’s for 11 years.

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“My mum is a retired vet. She was my original inspiration and I grew up around farmers so that’s why I got into it,” Shona said.

Peter Wright and Shona Searson. (Pic credit: Daisybeck Studios)Peter Wright and Shona Searson. (Pic credit: Daisybeck Studios)
Peter Wright and Shona Searson. (Pic credit: Daisybeck Studios)

“I worked in mixed practice for 11 years, so I did everything. I did a lot of small animal work, I did quite a bit of cattle and sheep work, and some horses.

“Now I just do about 50 per cent horses, 40 per cent cows, and 10 per cent sheep. It makes my life a lot easier than trying to remember every medicine and every disease in all of those different species.”

The 35-year-old vet said when she joined the show, the producers initially planned to create a spin off show titled ‘The Next Generation’ with just Donaldson’s vets.

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They ultimately decided to merge Shona, Matt Smith and David Melleney with Peter Wright and Julian Norton.

Donaldson's vets with Peter Wright and Julian Norton. (Pic credit: Daisybeck Studios)Donaldson's vets with Peter Wright and Julian Norton. (Pic credit: Daisybeck Studios)
Donaldson's vets with Peter Wright and Julian Norton. (Pic credit: Daisybeck Studios)

“I think it’s absolutely brilliant that the show has carried on for this long,” Shona said.

“Since we started we were saying it might be the last year. I think it’s a testament to the absolutely amazing team that put the programme together, the film crew that worked with us and also how well all the characters, the farmers, the owners, [and vets] get on very well.

“It was going to be a separate series with the younger vets, but they decided to mix us in with the other guys which I think has worked really well because we all get on.

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“There was a pilot episode that just had me, David and Matt as a separate thing, but they got us involved with Peter and Julian.”

Shona never expected The Yorkshire Vet to continue for 18 seasons.

“It’s absolutely fantastic that people still watch us messing around with animals. We are very grateful for that,” she said.

“The difference with this series is that the relationships between us have all grown through the years. We all work better with the film crew, we work better with our colleagues.

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“Particularly with the cricket match that has been on recently, I think you can really see the relationship between all of us and how we really do genuinely get on. It is not fake.

“I’m really glad people enjoy watching it and I hope that it brings some education for people as well.

“If I had watched The Yorkshire Vet when I was a veterinary student, there would have been a lot of things that I would have seen as a new graduate, not just in a photograph but would have seen them in real life.”

Shona said she feels touched when she receives fan mail from young girls who are inspired by the show to become vets.

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“I hope most of the British public have a lot of respect for our British farmers and what they do for this country,” she said.

“Sometimes I get fan mail or a card from young girls who watch the show and want to be a cow vet. That really makes my day because we need more vets, especially on the farm side.

“It really makes my day when, especially girls, get inspired to get into it because we all need a role model in life.

“We do need more farm vets, the farmers are very encouraging and helpful. You’ve just got to get out there to the farms and do it, get some experience of milking cows and things like that.”

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She admitted that like any other job there are good days and bad days but the most important thing is you have got to really love animals and communicating with people.

“Like any job there’s a lot of difficult days but you’ve really got to like animals and like people because many times you are treating the people as much as you’re treating the animals,” she said.

“The amount of times when you are treating the animal then you realise that the animal is the thing keeping the person going through a difficult time or an elderly person where the only company they’ve got is a little dog.

“There’s a real community aspect to the job as well as just being a medical job.”

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Shona had a message to send to The Yorkshire Vet viewers who have been watching the series for nine years and 200 episodes.

“Keep supporting British farming and we’re really grateful for all of the viewers who watch the programme and they enjoy it,” she said.

“Especially in times when there has been bad media about vets, people often complain about vets, it has been a massive boost to us, all of the support we get in what we do.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the time you hear all of these negative things and so it’s really good to hear that people appreciate what we do.”

The 200th episode of The Yorkshire Vet airs tonight (May 21) at 8pm and viewers have been asked on X, formerly Twitter, what they’re favourite episodes are from the show since its inception.

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