OFC2020: Vets welcome commitment to UK farm animal welfare by Environment Secretary

Posted On: 
8th January 2020

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) welcomes the Environment Secretary’s commitment to recognising animal welfare as a public good as well as a pledge to maintain and enhance UK standards as new trade deals are negotiated, after Brexit.

During her speech at the Oxford Farming Conference today, Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers said that the Government’s Agriculture Bill (which will be introduced to Parliament this month), will see a new approach where farmers and land managers are rewarded with public money for ‘public goods’ – such as enhancing biodiversity, tackling climate change and raising standards of animal welfare.

She also said that the government would be looking to ‘maintain and indeed enhance’ UK standards as the country looks to form new trading relationships with EU and international countries.

Commenting, BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said:

“It is encouraging to hear the Environment Secretary’s pledge to recognising animal welfare as a public good as well as a promise that the Government will protect the high farm animal health and welfare standards that we value here in the UK.

“This promise now needs to be strengthened and acted upon as the UK begins the process of negotiating trade agreements with the EU and rest of the world. It is essential that domestic standards are protected, but we also need to see a firm commitment that goods produced to lower standards of animal health and welfare will not to be permitted on to the UK market. 

“Whatever the future of UK farming holds, the veterinary profession will have a central role to play in ensuring that high animal health and welfare standards are maintained, and that produce is safe for the public. As such an integral part of the agriculture and food sector, vets are also well placed to advise on sustainable animal husbandry and will play a part in working towards more environmentally friendly models of production.”