Madeleine Forsyth

Madeleine Forsyth

Honorary Treasurer and Past President

Madeleine Forsyth has lived and worked in North Yorkshire all her life starting her veterinary career as a schoolgirl assisting James Herriot, the world’s most famous vet. She subsequently worked as a veterinary surgeon in that Thirsk practice gaining experience in all aspects of mixed practice, dealing with all species, leaving to found her own mixed rural practice in Helmsley in 1983. She sold her surgery in 2002 only due to injury but has not retired from clinical practice which she still carries out, although to a much lesser extent, and after re-training in law was called to the Bar in 2004. She is a non-practising barrister. Madeleine has acted as an Expert Witness for more than 35 years and her experience covers an unusual range of comprehensive disciplines. She holds the Certificate of Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in Animal Welfare Science Ethics and Law, a forensic qualification designed to train experienced practitioners to recognise any compromise of animal welfare, make an objective assessment of the significance of that compromise, and describe it in terms acceptable to a Court.

Since 1979 she has acted as a Casualty Consultant to racecourses, including Beverley, Catterick, Thirsk, Redcar and Doncaster and to the Jockey Club acting as Veterinary Officer. These professional duties were enhanced by her experience as a Jockey Club Permit Holder and amateur jockey in the 1980s and more recently of running, in conjunction with her practice a stud standing a thoroughbred stallion, and boarding mares and convalescent racehorses.

Work as a “hands on” vet in rural mixed practice has been her forte, and the Helmsley surgery provided full medical and surgical facilities for all species, as well as a base for student nurses and vets to train.

Her client base within the North York Moors included a significant number of hunts, shooting syndicates and gamekeepers, which has led to her evidence being heard in Court in cases related to the Badgers Act, Deer Act, Animal Welfare Act, and regulatory matters prosecuted by local authorities and government agencies, the latter enhanced by her experience as an Official Veterinarian for the Meat Hygiene Service since 1979.

Latterly, she has been much involved with the Dangerous Dogs Act, travelling to Ulster and Scotland as well as throughout England and Wales, and is equally instructed in these cases by prosecution and defence. She has given evidence in the first cases heard in respect of the Japanese Tosa, and Dogo Argentino.