BVA president has John Blackwell set out the organisation’s 2015 general election manifesto, which urges politicians to commit to taking action on animal welfare and disease prevention.

Launching the manifesto at the BVA’s annual dinner (February 3), Mr Blackwell highlighted the vital role veterinary surgeons play in safeguarding animal and human health and welfare, challenging 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, the next BSE”.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Prior to the speech, Mr Blackwell 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 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. 

Vets are the guardians of animal welfare and we will continue to stand up for the highest standards of welfare for all animals. Top of that agenda is our campaign to end non-stun slaughter in the UK. We will continue to push for a full parliamentary debate on the matter.” 

For the full story and manifesto, look out for issue 45.7 on February 12.

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