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:
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.”
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.”