A group of leading Scottish vets is calling on all candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections to sign up to 12 pledges to enhance animal health and welfare, support the veterinary profession, and protect public health in Scotland in accordance with the WHO definition of One Health.

Launched a month ahead of the elections on May 6, the 12-point manifesto compiled by the British Veterinary Association’s (BVA) Scottish branch spans pledges in areas including; pet welfare; animal sentience; disease control; agriculture funding; and veterinary workforce capacity.

The BVA is asking its members across Scotland to write to their parliamentary candidates and ask them to commit to taking action on these priority issues if they are elected.

The 12 pledges are:

  • Boost the veterinary workforce;
  • Protect the welfare of animals at slaughter;
  • Direct agriculture funding towards improving animal health and welfare;
  • Commit to evidence-based disease control;
  • Improve welfare during transport for Scotland’s livestock;
  • Enshrine animal sentience in law;
  • Strengthen legislation against illegal puppy imports;
  • Ban the import of dogs with cropped ears;
  • Ban aversive training devices;
  • Improve traceability in dog breeding;
  • Tighten the regulation of fireworks;
  • Put animal welfare on the national curriculum.

Launching the manifesto, BVA Scottish branch president Kathleen Robertson said:

"In creating this manifesto we’ve set out the issues that matter most across the Scottish veterinary community.

The profession has an integral role to play in keeping our pets healthy, protecting animals and the public against disease threats and maintaining high standards in our food chain, and we know how hard vets have worked to meet demand and prioritise animal health and welfare throughout the pandemic.

"We’d like to see candidates from all parties commit to action on the most pressing animal welfare issues in Scotland, as well as efforts to boost capacity in the workforce so that vets can meet the post-Brexit demand for services like certifying animal products for import and export.

"Following the elections, we’re looking forward to engaging with the new parliamentary intake to put these pledges into effect," she concluded.