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BVA calls for action on TB and non-stun slaughter ahead of May elections

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has published election manifestos for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland calling politicians to take action on animal health and welfare.
The BVA is wants animal health and welfare to be a factor in forthcoming national elections
The BVA is wants animal health and welfare to be a factor in forthcoming national elections

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has called for a review of national bovine TB strategies to include ’humane culling of badgers’ ahead of next month’s national elections.

 

The BVA’s election manifestos also call for the introduction of labelling on meat products to clearly differentiate between stunned and non-stunned slaughter.

 

Voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland go the polls on May 5.

 

The BVA and its Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh Branches have launched three manifestos urging incoming parliamentarians to take action on animal health and welfare under a One Health agenda for government.

 

The three manifestos, which can be viewed here, make 20 policy recommendations in three key areas: safeguarding animal health, promoting animal welfare and recognising the vital role of veterinary surgeons.

 

They challenge the next governments to:

 

  • Protect the welfare of animals by requiring all animals to be stunned before slaughter to ensure they are insensible to pain. Where there is little or no non-stun slaughter carried out, the next government should introduce measures to label meat as stunned or non-stunned to allow consumers to make an informed choice.
  • Review their programmes to eradicate bovine TB – or, in the case of Scotland, retain its Officially Tuberculosis Free status – moving towards comprehensive programmes that include risk-based biosecurity measures, cattle controls, badger vaccination where appropriate and available, and the humane culling of badgers via cage trapping and shooting only.
  • Continue to support the One Health approach, as outlined in the UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy, to increase collaboration and integration of the veterinary and medical professions to promote the responsible use of antimicrobials.
  • Ensure robust enforcement of existing legislation to tackle illegal import of puppies across borders due to the potential associations with disease, dog welfare and behavioural problems.
  • Ring-fence or increase the budget to retain the local role of the vet to support the provision of vital veterinary services, especially in hard to reach areas like the Scottish Highlands and Islands, and to ensure robust disease control and eradication strategies.
  • Embrace partnership working between government and the veterinary profession, recognising the unique skills, knowledge and expertise of veterinary surgeons across animal health and welfare and public health.

 

 

 

BVA President Sean Wensley said: “The UK prides itself on high, continuously improving animal welfare standards and voters care deeply about animal health and welfare issues, so we urge the incoming national governments to include this in their agendas and champion the concept of One Health in recognition of the inextricable links between animals, humans, and our shared living environment.

 

"Through our daily work, and these manifestos, we believe vets are in a unique position from which to offer the next governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales evidence-based and informed advice and policy recommendations.”

 

BVA’s manifestos will be sent to all candidates who are standing for election, relevant animal health and welfare government groups, BVA honorary associate MPs, Peers & MEPs, and respective Chief Veterinary Officers. Following the elections, BVA will also share the document with newly elected Members.

 

One Health is defined by the One Health Commission as “the collaborative effort of multiple health science professions, together with their related disciplines and institutions – working locally, nationally, and globally – to attain optimal health for people, domestic animals, wildlife, plants, and our environment.”

 

 


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Reaction

Shimon Cohen, Shechita UK campaign director said: “It beggars belief that once again the BVA has listed Shechita as the UK’s number one animal welfare concern ahead of national elections in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

"That they continue to obsess with the tiny numbers of animals slaughtered for food by the Jewish community is short sighted and negligent in their duty to protect animals.

 

"It is also particularly suspect when one considers the real animal welfare issues that any organisation truly concerned with animal welfare should focus its attention on.”

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