Vets urge politicians to sign key pledges ahead of Assembly poll

Vets urge politicians to sign key pledges ahead of Assembly poll

The British Veterinary Association has urged parties in Northern Ireland to sign up to key pledges on animal health and welfare ahead of the forthcoming Assembly elections on May 5.

An 11-point manifesto from the BVA’s NI branch covers priorities such as maintaining an adequate workforce both in private practice and the government sector, engaging with the next generation of veterinary professionals, the Northern Ireland Protocol, disease control and improving animal welfare.

The BVA also called on political parties to commit to a crackdown on illegal puppy breeding and unregulated fertility clinics, regulating farriers, preserving access to veterinary medicines and banning the import of dogs with illegal cropped ears.

The 11 pledges are:

  • Support a new vet school for Northern Ireland
  • Ensure sufficient government veterinary services
  • Collaborate to preserve veterinary medicines access
  • Cooperate to simplify post-Brexit pet travel
  • Direct agriculture funding towards improving animal health and welfare
  • Commit to partnership working to control disease
  • Apply behavioural science to tackle bovine TB
  • Protect the welfare of animals at slaughter
  • Regulate farriers
  • Crack down on illegal puppy breeding and commercial movements
  • Ban the import of dogs with cropped ears

BVA NI Branch President Fiona McFarland, above, said: “In this manifesto, we have laid out the priority areas for the Northern Ireland veterinary profession. The manifesto draws together the most pressing issues which matter to our members.

“The veterinary profession plays a vital role in Northern Ireland both in the agri-food sector and in keeping companion animals healthy and cared for. We are focused on protecting all animals from disease threats and maintaining public health. We ensure that animal health and welfare is of the highest standard and by working in partnership with farmers and government we can provide a safe and sustainable food chain.

“We would like to see candidates from all parties listen and commit to taking action on these key issues in Northern Ireland.”