The President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) used his annual London dinner speech last night (Tuesday 26 February) to call on the government, parliamentarians and other stakeholders to see the value in vets.
He addressed current issues including the horsemeat scandal, where he called for us to look again at the horse passport system; the BVA’s call for clearer welfare labelling and measures to reduce slaughter without stunning; dog welfare, where he called for everyone to get behind the puppy contract; and pet travel, where he called for an inquiry into illegal imports of puppies for sale.
Mr Jones called on all organisations to get behind the AWF/RSPCA puppy contract when it is reviewed later this year. He said:
“We are grateful to both Defra and the Efra Committee for their support for the puppy contract. When it was launched last year it gained the support of almost all of the major dog welfare organisations. And when it is reviewed this year we very much hope that we can bring everyone on board. The key to tackling those ill-advised purchases is education.”
And he called on the Efra Committee to consider holding an inquiry into pet travel. He said:
“We also need to look again at the enforcement of pet travel rules as vets across the country are reporting serious concerns about animals of unknown origin coming into their practices. The reported 400% rise in pet travel movements since the change in the rules suggests that people are exploiting the non-commercial routes for commercial gain.
Mr Jones continued, “While the changes to the pet travel regulations were shown to keep our disease risk low, we are now witnessing the unintended consequence of large numbers of puppies being brought from eastern Europe to be sold in the UK. And we do have grave concerns for the welfare of those puppies. Perhaps it’s a seed that we can plant in the minds of the Efra Committee members as they think about the next big topic to tackle.”
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