A manifesto for all of us

Posted on February 09, 2015 by John Blackwell

This week we hosted a very successful BVA London Dinner, which affords us a platform to engage and discuss key issues. A generous helping of MPs from across the political spectrum attended along with many of the leaders of the various stakeholders from government departments, animal welfare organisations, and the wider food, agri, and medicines industries.

I was proud to deliver a speech on behalf of your association, focusing attention on why we as vets make a fundamental difference to animal health and welfare. I talked at length about the profession’s importance within disease control, surveillance and food security, as well as the impact we have on wider society, recognising the importance of the human/animal bond and the need to educate and promote responsible animal ownership. I covered off areas where we as vets face significant challenges: antimicrobial resistance; TB control and delivery (with particular reference to the tendering for OV services); dog breeding regulation and its impact on responsible ownership; and our continued focus on improving animal welfare at the point of slaughter through our campaign to end non-stun slaughter. I rounded off with the profession’s responsibilities to itself, looking at the very real problems of mental health and wellbeing and the very exciting Vet Futures project which is looking forward to identify and, more importantly, shape the role of the profession of tomorrow and beyond.

During the speech it was a huge honour for me to launch “Our Manifesto for 2015”. This document quite clearly sets out what we require from the next Government, whatever its colour and composition. We were complimented on our very direct approach in indicating what Government should do. The manifesto is a call to action for politicians and policymakers and covers off a number of key BVA policies under three main headings: Safeguarding animal health, Promoting animal welfare, and Recognising the vital role of veterinary surgeons.

There is no ambiguity in the message that it sends, and it was very well received by all in the room; every guest took it away with them with one guest asking for a further five copies to distribute to colleagues!

It’s short and sweet so download Our Manifesto for 2015 (3.26 MB PDF)

I am going to finish my blog now as I really want you to spend the time reading the manifesto, rather than my words. I am sure you will agree that it demonstrates that BVA is “A strong voice for vets”, and that includes your voice.

Members will be receiving more information soon on how to use the manifesto to lobby your local candidates so watch this space.

Best wishes

John Blackwell

Written by John Blackwell

BVA President from September 2014 to September 2015

John is a farm animal and equine practitioner, and a director at Brownlow Veterinary Centre in Shropshire. Follow John on Twitter