The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is hailing the launch of Westminster’s major political parties’ manifestos as a win for animal health and welfare, with more than half of BVA’s own manifesto recommendations being written into the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat priorities for the next Parliament.
Following the announcement of the snap General Election, BVA produced a 20-point manifesto of key recommendations covering both Brexit and wider policy issues, which was sent to the UK’s main political parties’ manifesto-writing teams and to BVA’s parliamentary Honorary Associates and Members. The BVA manifesto is framed under four key areas: Securing a successful outcome for animal health and welfare after Brexit; safeguarding animal health; promoting animal welfare; and recognising the vital role of veterinary surgeons.
The first call of the BVA manifesto for 2017 – for the next Government to guarantee the working rights for non-British EU vets and VNs working and studying in the UK, and for British vets and VNs working in the EU – was comprehensively met in both the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos, with the Conservative manifesto stating that they will secure the entitlements of EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU.
The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats each made at least some commitment to ensuring animal welfare in trade in line with BVA’s second manifesto ask, with all three parties making stronger commitments around BVA’s call to ensure the UK continues to be a globally attractive place for research and development (R&D). In total 11 of BVA’s 20 manifesto asks have been met by one or more of the three parties’ manifestos.
Plaid Cymru’s manifesto or ‘Action Plan’ also guarantees the rights of all Europeans currently living and working in Wales and states they will require the UK Government to seek the endorsement of each UK country before any trade deal can be signed, in order to avoid Wales being flooded with cheap imported food that could harm the Welsh farm industry. Further analysis of the Green Party, UKIP, SNP and Northern Ireland parties’ manifestos will be completed as they are launched.
British Veterinary Association President Gudrun Ravetz said: “This General Election, which has Brexit at its core, is a real opportunity to ensure the most pressing animal health and welfare issues are high on the next Government’s agenda.
“While we are a relatively small profession, our critical and far-reaching roles in animal health, welfare and public health mean that we are uniquely placed to offer the next Government evidence-based and informed advice, and policy recommendations. Months of hard work by the Brexit working group, and the quick issue of our Manifesto to the main political parties, enabled us to secure commitments on the profession’s animal health and welfare priorities from all of the main political parties – whichever of them might take Government after 8 June.”
BVA has launched a General Election toolkit for BVA members, which includes the BVA manifesto for 2017, a template letter, and a series of questions that can be posed to prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) at local events and hustings.
A breakdown of the political parties’ manifesto commitments, set against BVA’s manifesto asks, is available at www.bva.co.uk/news-campaigns-and-policy/newsroom/