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Government urged to fulfil its animal welfare promises
The BVA recommends the use of animal welfare stewardship programme to financially support progress in animal health and welfare.
BVA calls for more detail on proposed animal welfare scheme

BVA president John Fishwick has called on the government to fulfil its promises on maintaining animal health and welfare post-Brexit.

Mr Fishwick said that “Brexit provides an opportunity to review our agricultural policy” and that recognising animals as public goods “will benefit producers, consumers and wider society”.

His comments come in response to Defra’s consultation paper on the future for food farming and the environment in a green Brexit. In the paper, Defra recognises that investing in animal welfare is a ‘public good’ that could be supported by a new policy that offers payments to farmers who deliver higher welfare outcomes.

However, the BVA said that more detail is needed on how such a policy could be realised. In its response to Defra, the organisation recommends the use of animal welfare stewardship programme to financially support progress in animal health and welfare.

It suggests a programme that would be based on the principles of the environment stewardship schemes which reward land management practices that benefit the environment. It would compensate for the additional costs of improving animal welfare outcomes, alongside providing incentives to support continuing and long-term investment into these activities.

Mr Fishwick said that animal health and welfare ‘underpin’ the reputation of UK agricultural produce.

“It is essential that these are supported as public goods in agricultural policy post-Brexit in a way that can make a positive and measurable impact on animal health and welfare,” he explained.

“Vets play a crucial role in UK agriculture, right throughout the animal’s life, then from the farm-gate through to trade certification. Working towards the highest welfare standards and monitoring disease are an essential component of this, so it’s vital that the government use veterinary expertise to best effect in the development and implementation of any new policy and plans.”

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”