General Election manifestos: BVA lobbying secures wins for animal health and welfare

25 May 2017

The British Veterinary Association is hailing the launch of Westminster’s major political parties’ manifestos as a win for animal health and welfare, with many of BVA’s own manifesto recommendations being written into the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat priorities for the next Parliament.

Following the announcement of the snap General Election, BVA produced a 20-point manifesto (226 KB PDF) of key recommendations covering both Brexit and wider policy issues, which was sent to the UK’s main political parties’ manifesto-writing teams and to BVA’s parliamentary Honorary Associates and Members.

Now BVA has launched a General Election toolkit for BVA members, which includes a comparison of the parties' commitments alongside BVA's manifesto asks, a template letter (127 KB PDF), and a series of questions (26 KB PDF) that can be posed to prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) at local events and hustings.

The BVA manifesto is framed under four key areas: Securing a successful outcome for animal health and welfare after Brexit; safeguarding animal health; promoting animal welfare; and recognising the vital role of veterinary surgeons. 

The first call of the BVA manifesto for 2017 - for the next Government to guarantee the working rights for non-British EU vets and VNs working and studying in the UK, and for British vets and VNs working in the EU – was comprehensively met in both the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos, with the Conservative manifesto stating that they will secure the entitlements of EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU.

The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats each made at least some commitment to ensuring animal welfare in trade in line with BVA’s second manifesto ask, with all three parties making stronger commitments around BVA’s call to ensure the UK continues to be a globally attractive place for research and development (R&D). In total 11 of BVA’s 20 manifesto asks have been met by one or more of the three parties’ manifestos. 

UKIP's manifesto (4.2 MB PDF) states that the party will allow law-abiding EU citizens living in the UK before Article 50 was triggered the right to stay indefinitely, and Plaid Cymru’s manifesto or ‘Action Plan’ also guarantees the rights of all Europeans currently living and working in Wales.

Both parties have made a number of further commitments on animal health and welfare and public health, covering use of antibiotics, trade and welfare at slaughter.

Further analysis of the Green Party, SNP and Northern Ireland parties’ manifestos will be completed as they are launched. 

BVA President Gudrun Ravetz said, “This General Election, which has Brexit at its core, is a real opportunity to ensure the most pressing animal health and welfare issues are high on the next Government’s agenda. 

“While we are a relatively small profession, our critical and far-reaching roles in animal health, welfare and public health mean that we are uniquely placed to offer the next Government evidence-based and informed advice, and policy recommendations.

"Months of hard work by BVA's Brexit working group, and the quick issue of our Manifesto to the main political parties, enabled us to secure commitments on the profession’s animal health and welfare priorities from all of the main political parties – whichever of them might take Government after 8 June.”


BVA Media Office