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Vets react after MPs reject Agriculture Bill amendment
MPs voted down the Agriculture Bill amendment by 322 votes to 279.

“This result is a severe blow for animal welfare” - James Russell, BVA president.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has expressed its 'bitter disappointment' after MPs rejected an amendment to the Agriculture Bill designed to protect the UK's food and animal welfare standards in any future trade deals.

On Monday (12 October), MPs voted down the amendment, that would have required imports to meet high animal welfare standards, by 322 votes to 279. The amendment had garnered a swathe of public and cross-party support, including from several Conservative MPs.

The BVA, which had previously
urged the Government not to allow animal welfare standards to be compromised in pursuit of future trade deals, described the result as 'a severe blow for animal welfare'.

BVA president James Russell said: “After such a strong show of support in the Lords, it is bitterly disappointing that the majority of MPs have chosen to ignore the groundswell of public and professional feeling and have voted against a clause that would have safeguarded our own renowned standards and offered crucial protections to the reputation and livelihood of the UK’s farming industry.

“We have long argued that the UK cannot commit to raising the bar domestically while allowing in goods that don’t meet the high standards that British consumers rightly want and expect. If the government won’t legislate to protect our standards it is vital that the Trade and Agriculture Commission is given more powers and stature to safeguard them in future trade deals.”

His words were echoed by RSPCA executive Chris Sherwood, who added that the vote was 'the strongest signal yet' that the UK could be forced to accept lower food and animal welfare standards as part of any future trade deals.

"The vote also shows a disregard for the British public, 83 per cent of whom said they did not want lower standard imports coming in from the US when we leave the EU," he said. "It is now up to the Lords to represent the conscience of the public and stand up for our farm standards."

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AWF Student Grant Scheme opens for applications

News Story 1
 The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) is inviting applications to its 2021 Student Grant Scheme for innovative projects designed to impact animal welfare. The scheme welcomes proposals from undergraduates studying veterinary and animal welfare degrees, but students from other disciplines are also welcome to apply.

Grants will fund projects on animal welfare topics that are relevant to the veterinary profession and help develop the student's skills as a researcher. This year, the AWF is also accepting projects which are carried out alongside EMS so long as they are supervised. For more information and to apply, visit animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk 

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Survey seeks views on keeping cows with calves

Researchers at Scotland's Rural College are seeking views from dairy farmers on keeping cows with calves.

Their study entitled 'Keeping Cow with Calf: bringing innovation to dairying in Scotland' aims to find out the motivations and reservations about operating a cow-with-calf dairy system.

The survey will help researchers build an evidence base and gauge what support farmers need to move to this practice. For more information, or to complete the survey, visit keepingcowwithcalf.com