BVA launches national election manifestos calling for action on animal health and welfare

05 April 2016

Ahead of next month’s national elections (5 May), the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and BVA’s Northern Ireland Branch, Scottish Branch and Welsh Branch have launched three manifestos urging incoming parliamentarians to take action on animal health and welfare under a One Health agenda for government.

BVA’s three manifestos were developed drawing on the expertise and experiences of BVA’s members working throughout the UK and in all areas of the veterinary profession, and makes clear recommendations in three key areas: safeguarding animal health, promoting animal welfare and recognising the vital role of veterinary surgeons.

Each manifesto sets out almost 20 policy recommendations that provide a clear pathway towards improving animal health and welfare, and challenges 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 and, 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 a regime of controls such as 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:
“As veterinary surgeons we are on the frontline caring for animals, detecting and treating disease, and undertaking pioneering research into animal and public health. We work at the cutting edge of science and at the heart of the communities in which we practise, guiding animal keepers and owners towards good animal welfare decisions and helping to maintain the strong human-animal bond. 

“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.

To find out more about BVA's national election manifestos and other public affairs work, please visit BVA's Campaigns pages. 

BVA Media Office