Proposals to improve pet welfare “particularly welcome” 

The draft policy includes proposals to reintroduce rabies testing for dogs before entry to the UK, in a bid to tackle puppy smuggling.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed a 50-point action plan on animal welfare from the Labour Party.

The draft policy entitled ‘Animal Welfare For The Many, Not The Few’, looks at banning the live export of animals for slaughter, strengthening the Hunting Act and enshrining the principal of animal sentience in law.

Commenting, BVA president John Fishwick said: “We are delighted to see animal welfare high on the political agenda, with cross-party recognition of the value of enshrining animal sentience in UK law post-Brexit.

“Animal welfare is at the heart of everything vets do and we have repeatedly called for measures to ensure there is a duty on Government to have due regard for animal welfare in policy making. It is pleasing to see this, and a number of other animal welfare policies championed by the BVA, reflected in the Labour Party’s Animal Welfare Plan.”

Labour’s plans to improve the welfare of domestic pets are “particularly welcome”, Mr Fishwick added. The draft policy includes proposals to reintroduce rabies testing for dogs before entry to the UK, in a bid to tackle puppy smuggling. Other measures include bans on third party puppy sales, electric shock collars and keeping primates as pets.

The action plan proposes mandatory labelling of domestic and imported meat, to include the country of origin, method of production and whether the animal was stunned before slaughter. BVA has lobbied for a ban on non-stun slaughter, but while this practice is permitted by law, the association believes clear labelling is needed to allow consumers to make an informed choice.

“If we can achieve cross-party support for labelling of non-stun meat we will make significant progress in reducing demand, thereby reducing the number of animals suffering slaughter without stunning,” Mr Fishwick said. “It is also encouraging to see the government’s recent commitment to mandatory CCTV in UK slaughterhouses echoed here.”

BVA also said it is “delighted” to see support for a ban on wild animals in circuses. However, Mr Fishwick added that the association “would welcome an opportunity to discuss the control of bovine TB in the wildlife reservoir, including the culling of badgers, as part of a holistic strategy to control and eradicate the disease”.

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