Former Shadow Environment Minister to lead welfare discussions at AWF’s annual forum

07 February 2018

Angela Smith MP, who co-chairs the government’s All-Party Animal Welfare Group, will lead the ‘Big Debate’ at the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Discussion Forum in London this year. The former Shadow Environment Minister will chair the morning session, examining the role of insurance providers and vets in maintaining good welfare.    

AWF’s Discussion Forum, held at One George Street, London, on Monday 12 June, attracts delegates from a wide range of fields and gives them the chance to discuss and share knowledge on challenging welfare issues. 

The AWF was founded as a charity 35 years ago to improve the welfare of animals. They are celebrating with a range of fascinating sessions at 2018’s Discussion Forum, chaired by experts in their respective fields, designed to address key issues impacting animal welfare and inspire change. 

This year, the morning’s ‘Big Debate’ session, chaired by BVA Honorary Member Angela Smith MP, will ask ‘Is insurance compromising quality of life?’. Quality of life should always be the top priority for owners, vets and insurance providers, but many clients now expect human standard healthcare for their pets, so assessing and meeting this standard can be eclipsed by conflicting demands and opinions. This ambitious session will explore ways of assessing quality of life and how such a measurement might be used to balance the needs of client, vet and insurer in favour of better animal welfare.

The afternoon sessions will focus on how veterinary professionals can influence client behaviour for best animal welfare and help potential buyers make good pre-purchase decisions. 

Chris Laurence, AWF Chair of Trustees, said: “The human animal relationship is changing, bringing new dynamics to animal welfare and challenging the way the veterinary profession uses the broad range of skills of modern vets and nurses. For vets to become leaders in preventative care means learning new skills and balancing their technical ability with the welfare of their patients. 

“This year’s forum will tackle many of the non-clinical challenges that vets face but are not necessarily prepared for in their training. The forum will be relevant to the whole practice team as well as vets in other areas of work, with the programme featuring updates on a number of AWF funded research projects.”

John Fishwick, President of the British Veterinary Association and session chair, said:

“This is an exceptional conference that provides a wonderful opportunity for vets, vet nurses, animal welfare organisations, students, the media and parliamentarians to step outside their busy professional lives and jointly confront current welfare issues. I would encourage as many people as possible to attend, hear from the experts on these important issues and contribute to the discussions.”

One of the best-loved CPD events of the veterinary calendar, the Discussion Forum gives delegates the chance to take part in lively, interactive debate and enjoy the company of influential and respected members of the veterinary profession and the field of animal welfare. Veterinary professionals who are unable to attend can join the conversations by following @AWF_VETS and using the hashtag #AWFDebate on the day.

Following the event, AWF and British Veterinary Association (BVA) will jointly host a reception at the House of Commons offering delegates the opportunity to continue discussing the day’s issues with parliamentarians and policymakers. A full programme and tickets for the Discussion Forum and House of Commons reception are available now.

BVA Media Office