Veterinary

BVA helps vets speak up for animal welfare

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has launched a landmark animal welfare strategy. In an announcement made at its annual London Dinner (3 February), the Association drew attention to the veterinary profession’s unique opportunity to advocate animals’ best interests at individual, community and political levels.

Just over half a century since The Brambell Report (1965) and following 18 months’ consultation, BVA President Sean Wensley presented ‘Vets speaking up for animal welfare’. The animal welfare strategy aims to provide a framework to help the veterinary profession advocate good animal welfare outcomes for all animals.

The following six priority areas were named building blocks for future action:

  • Animal welfare assessment
  • Ethics
  • Legislation
  • Education
  • Advocacy
  • International

The ultimate aim of BVA’s animal welfare strategy is for BVA, its members and specialist divisions to contribute to solutions for real-world animal welfare problems.

BVA President Sean Wensley said: “Brambell’s report set in motion the now thriving field of animal welfare science – determining how animals perceive the world, and what they need and want from their perspectives – and, in light of this new scientific understanding, society is increasingly examining how we ought to use and treat animals. Protecting and promoting animal welfare is the veterinary profession’s raison d’etre: it’s a declaration that each of us makes when we become members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

“As vets, we recognise that we are part of an interdisciplinary community seeking to promote the best interests of animals and improve their treatment, wherever they are used or impacted on by people. It’s a community that includes NGOs, retailers, politicians, scientists, philosophers, economists and all the organisations represented here this evening. Vets’ opportunity to be advocates for animals may be the greatest of all those who act in the interests of animals – and we have clear social, professional and legal responsibilities to do so.”

The Vet Futures report, launched last November as part of the ongoing project jointly led by BVA and RCVS, identified veterinary leadership in animal health and welfare as one of the six key ambitions in its 2030 vision for the veterinary profession.

The President concluded his launch of ‘Vets speaking up for animal welfare’, saying: “The launch of BVA’s animal welfare strategy sends a clear signal that the veterinary profession is, and will continue to be, a considerable force for good, for animals and for an increasingly compassionate society, in the years to come.”

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