Pulling together on welfare

British Veterinary Association’s views on plans for new animal welfare legislation

source: Veterinary Record vol 150 no 18, May 4 2002 p557

The British Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs plans a new bill to update legislation covering domestic animals, which would bring together different laws, including the 1999 Breeding and Sale of Dogs Act, and the 1911 Protection of Animals Act. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) supports plans for this bill, and argues that it is important to look at animal welfare for captive, wild, farmed and companion animals. The BVA foresees primary legislation on cruelty and poor conditions of welfare, with greater detail provided by secondary legislation for individual species, and different circumstances, like transit and slaughter. Good welfare includes freedom from disease, pain, hunger, and thirst. Legislation should also tackle issues such as fighting, baiting and tethering. The BVA argues that The Farm Animal Welfare Council’s recommendations on farming practices should be noted, and similar welfare councils should be set up for wild and companion animals. Care should be taken to ensure that British legislation is both enforceable, with standards clearly set out, and that it fits in with European Union directives.