The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is calling on political parties to sign up to key pledges to enhance animal health and welfare, and support the veterinary profession, ahead of the Northern Ireland Assembly elections next month (May 5).

It has published a manifesto, comprising 11 pledges, to which it is asking all political parties to adopt.

They are:

  1. Support a new vet school for Northern Ireland;
  2. Ensure sufficient government veterinary services;
  3. Collaborate to preserve veterinary medicines access;
  4. Cooperate to simplify post-Brexit pet travel;
  5. Direct agriculture funding towards improving animal health and welfare;
  6. Commit to partnership working to control disease;
  7. Apply behavioural science to tackle bovine TB;
  8. Protect the welfare of animals at slaughter;
  9. Regulate farriers;
  10. Crack down on illegal puppy breeding and commercial movements;
  11. Ban the import of dogs with cropped ears.

Launching the manifesto, BVA Northern Ireland branch president Fiona McFarland said:

“In this manifesto, we have laid out the priority areas for the Northern Ireland veterinary profession. The manifesto draws together the most pressing issues which matter to our members.

“The veterinary profession plays a vital role in Northern Ireland both in the agri-food sector and in keeping companion animals healthy and cared for. We are focused on protecting all animals from disease threats and maintaining public health.

“We ensure that animal health and welfare is of the highest standard and by working in partnership with farmers and government we can provide a safe and sustainable food chain.

“We would like to see candidates from all parties listen and commit to taking action on these key issues in Northern Ireland.”

As well as asking all political parties to adopt the pledges in the manifesto, BVA is calling on its members across Northern Ireland to write to their Assembly candidates to ask them to commit to taking action on these priority issues if they are elected.