The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has produced a new infographic illustrating the animal welfare credentials of seven major UK farm assurance schemes.

The aim is to help people understand food labels and make informed choices about what they eat.

Vets have a strong professional and personal engagement in farm assurance schemes.

Farm assurance

A recent BVA survey showed that 9 out of 10 vets felt farm assurance schemes make a positive contribution to animal health and welfare in the UK.

It also found that 58% of vets consider scheme approval always or most of the time when carrying out their own shopping.

Farm assurance schemes rely on veterinary knowledge and expertise in the development and review of standards and the provision of on-farm assessments of animal health and welfare for accreditation.

The infographic sets out BVA’s priorities for farm animal welfare and indicates whether or not the assurance schemes address these priorities in their standards.

All seven schemes in the infographic meet the criteria for three of these priorities:

  • They are all underpinned by veterinary expertise;
  • Support responsible use of antimicrobials and have measures in place to prevent the spread of disease; and
  • Require animals to be stunned before slaughter, which is a policy priority for BVA.

The BVA has produced the infographic as part of their '#ChooseAssured' campaign alongside blogs detailing how to use the infographic and the rationale behind its development.

British Veterinary Association, John Fishwick said: “The provenance and welfare credentials of our food is becoming increasingly important in our shopping choices.

"More and more people want to know about the health and welfare credentials of the animal-derived food they buy such as meat, eggs and dairy products.

The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities.

“We very much hope that this infographic raises awareness of the value of farm assurance schemes and proves to be a useful tool when choosing and buying food.”

The infographic is based on BVA’s policy position on farm assurance, which has been developed as part of the organisation's Animal Welfare Strategy.