Gearing up for our e-petition debate in Westminster

Posted on February 20, 2015 by John Blackwell

Members cannot fail to be aware of the activity that BVA has been involved in regarding our campaign to end non-stun slaughter in the UK. Our member research from 2012 indicated clearly that animal welfare was the top priority for lobbying and, within that, the subset of slaughter without stunning is a priority issue. It has, in fact, been on our agenda since a BVA Council meeting in 1893, as detailed in Edward Boden’s excellent chronicle of BVA history. It reads: “Bleeding without stunning as practiced under Mosaic law was said to be ‘cruel’.”

The front page article in The Times last year elevated the campaign to the national stage and catapulted BVA into the media spotlight. Throughout all of the media attention we have been ultra-careful about the way we talk about the campaign and the language we use. For us, this is not an issue that interrogates religion, it is purely and simply an issue of animal welfare and our view that all animals should be rendered insensible to pain (by stunning) at the time of slaughter. It’s a principle that is firmly embedded in the oath that we take as veterinary surgeons.

How can you help?

The HM Government e-petition set up last April has surpassed the requisite 100,000 signatures in January and a debate has been secured in Westminster Hall on this very issue next Monday (23 February). We’re asking members to help us get as many pro-animal welfare voices into the debate as possible and have produced a guide on how to lobby your MP (48 KB PDF), which includes a template email in order to galvanise your MP into action, and a briefing for MPs (37 KB PDF)

We continue to amass signatures (over 115,000 to date) and when you consider that only 0.1% of petitions achieve 100,000 we can recognise the depth of feeling that exists on this issue not just within the profession, but in wider society too.

We all know the impact this has on animal welfare and we know the science, so let’s keep the momentum going


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