Vets’ body urges action on animal welfare and disease
Published:  05 February, 2015

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has set out its 2015 general election manifesto, urging parties to commit to action on animal welfare and disease prevention.

In a keynote speech in London, president John Blackwell launched the manifesto on 3 February. He said: “This week’s news about avian influenza in Hampshire highlights exactly why the expertise of vets matters in fighting disease and protecting human and animal health. In Hampshire, it was a local vet who sampled for AI when it became clear that the disease could not be ruled out of a diagnosis. Such vigilance and expert knowledge matters in a global world, where disease can be both pandemic and zoonotic.”

He challenged the next government to “listen to the growing public concern over welfare at slaughter, indicated by more than 100,000 signatures to BVA’s online petition, and pledge that an end to non-stun slaughter will be fully debated by parliament at the earliest opportunity; ensure the veterinary surveillance system of animal disease detection and prevention in the UK is robust enough to spot the next emerging threat; lobby in Europe to protect vets’ ability to responsibly prescribe and dispense veterinary medicines; overhaul legislation on the sale of pets to ensure best practice in the production and sale of companion animals; and embrace partnership working between government and the veterinary profession.”

Blackwell addressed an audience of parliamentarians, policy-makers, animal welfare groups, representatives of the farming and food industries, pet industry representatives, veterinary education representatives, veterinary surgeons and members of the press. Neil Parish MP, BVA honorary member and chair of the All-Party Group for Animal Welfare, will respond.