Vets call on new MSPs to support greater animal welfare

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With campaigning for next month’s Scottish election in full swing, the British Veterinary Association in Scotland has launched a manifesto urging newly elected MSPs to take action on animal health and welfare.

Drawing on the expertise and experiences of BVA’s members throughout Scotland there are three clear recommendations covering the safeguarding of animal health, promoting animal welfare and recognising the vital role of veterinary surgeons.

The Scotland manifesto sets out almost 20 policy recommendations and challenges the next government to:

Support vets and farmers to combat endemic livestock diseases by, for example, working with professional associations to encourage farmers and local vets to maintain vigilance for porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED), now a notifiable disease; Protect the welfare of animals by requiring all animals to be stunned before slaughter to ensure they are insensible to pain; and 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.

There are also calls to increase the budget for the Highlands and Islands Veterinary Services Scheme to support the provision of vital veterinary services in low income, hard to reach areas of the community.

BVA Scottish Branch President Grace Webster said: “The UK enjoys some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and we should be proud of that achievement - especially as our government is leading the way on issues such as reviewing the exotic pet trade and investigating the use of wild animals in circuses.

“We are also the only nation in the UK to be officially Tuberculosis free. Partnership working between government, vets and animal keepers has achieved much in Scotland and, we believe, can achieve more through our agri- and aquaculture industries and hub or research expertise. Veterinary surgeons have a unique opportunity, and responsibility, to advocate animals’ best interests at individual, community and national levels – and we look forward to working with the next government in Scotland.”

For more information about BVA’s ‘Our manifesto for Scotland 2016 – 2021’, please visit www.bva.co.uk/News-campaigns-and-policy/Campaigns/Scottish-Parliament/