Our policies

Animal welfare strategy

What's the issue?

Animal welfare science is an evolving social concern. There is growing expectation that the veterinary profession will reflect modern scientific understanding of animals' needs, preferences, pleasures, and pains across veterinary policies. The profession looks to BVA to lead public debate on the acceptability of current animal husbandry methods.

The contemporary definition of 'animal welfare' incorporates all key determinants of an animal’s wellbeing, such as appropriate companionship and the ability to express normal behaviours.

What's our view?

Our animal welfare strategy ‘Vets speaking up for animal welfare’, provides a framework to help vets advocate good animal welfare outcomes for all animals. It identifies 6 priority areas as building blocks for further action:

  • animal welfare assessment
  • ethics
  • legislation
  • advocacy
  • education
  • international

We've also developed a list of priority animal welfare problems, in close liaison with the specialist divisions, on which we are jointly developing positions and proactively campaigning.

Under the animal welfare strategy, we've developed policy positions on the following welfare issues:

  • analgesia in calves
  • goat kid disbudding and analgesia
  • surplus male production animals
  • welfare of livestock during transport
  • non-stun slaughter 
  • abnormal behaviour 
  • feather pecking in laying hens
  • extreme conformation
  • use of aversive training devices in dogs and cats

BVA animal welfare strategy

Animal Welfare Strategy (1.4 MB PDF)

Priority animal welfare problems

Priority animal welfare problems (161 KB PDF)

Get involved