Since my last column the Executive Committee have been very active putting together two conferences that we hope you will attend and enjoy. The long-term strategy is to hold two meetings a year: one in conjunction with species specific veterinary group, and the other to be one of our own choosing. To begin this programme we are aiming to look at the duty of care of veterinary surgeons under the new animal welfare law, to be held before the end of the year. The second meeting is to look at farm assurance schemes and animal welfare. Do they deliver good welfare for the animals, and how might this be improved through other strategies such as self-audit (involving local veterinary surgeons) as well as independent inspections (of farmers and vets?).
Labelling of food is a contentious issue at the moment being looked at by the FAWC. Is it needed to inform consumer choice? What form should it take? Should it be like shirt-tail labels detailing several parameters, or should it be an overall ‘star’ system? What does one do about an animal that has been in an ideal husbandry system until it is killed without stunning?
The shirt-tail identifies the critical issues, which an overall banding scheme does not but are there too many such issues to make it simple and user friendly? I would be interested in receiving any thoughts you might have on this.
We are revamping the website and making links with other key organisations that we hope you will find useful, so look out for it and please let us have feedback. We also felt it helpful to have a mission statement, so if you would like to help us draft something, that would be really helpful. This is our starter:
The aim of AWSELVA is to promote the welfare of animals through evaluation and debate of the science and ethics and their application into laws, guidance, codes and audit.
Finally, I am looking for contributors to a small booklet I would like to prepare on veterinary ethics that would be distributed free to all vet students by AWSELVA. We would hope that this would be timely to help vet schools deliver courses on animal welfare science, ethics and law into the re-drafted RCVS core curriculum.