Commenting on Labour’s draft policy document: ‘Animal Welfare For The Many, Not The Few’, published today, British Veterinary Association President John Fishwick said: 

“We are delighted to see animal welfare high on the political agenda, with cross-party recognition of the value of enshrining animal sentience in UK law post-Brexit. Animal welfare is at the heart of everything vets do and we have repeatedly called for measures to ensure there is a duty on Government to have regard for animal welfare in policy making. It is pleasing to see this, and a number of other animal welfare policies championed by BVA, reflected in the Labour Party’s Animal Welfare Plan.”

Reflecting further on the detail of the plan, Mr Fishwick continued:

“We continue to lobby for a ban on non-stun slaughter but, while stunning is still permitted, we believe that any meat from these sources should be clearly labelled to enable consumers to make an informed choice about the food they eat. If we can achieve cross-party support for labelling of non-stun meat we will make significant progress in reducing demand, thereby reducing the number of animals suffering slaughter without stunning. It is also encouraging to see the government’s recent commitment to mandatory CCTV in UK slaughterhouses echoed here. 

“We will continue to engage on the future of post-Brexit farm subsidies, particularly regarding the need to support animal health and welfare as a public goods, and on the ongoing responsible use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine.

“The Labour Party’s proposals to improve the welfare of domestic pets, through increased measures to tackle puppy smuggling and bans on both shock collars and the keeping of primates as pets, are particularly welcome and we look forward to discussing the various measures that could be put in place.  

“We would welcome an opportunity to discuss disease control, in particular the control of bovine TB in the wildlife reservoir, including the culling of badgers, as part of a holistic strategy to control and eradicate the disease.

“We are delighted to see support for our calls for a ban on wild animals in circuses. The Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill was recently unanimously voted through final Stage 3 proceedings in Holyrood and we hope to see other countries in the UK follow suit on this issue, which is emblematic of the way we treat all animals under our care, in the near future.”