The topics covered, including antimicrobial resistance, welfare at slaughter, population control and indiscriminate breeding, and the use of advanced veterinary practice. We took particular interest in Professor Steve Wotton’s talk on the latest research on the stunning of animals before slaughter and the nuances of appropriately stunning poultry to both effectively stun the birds regardless of their size and yet not induce cardiac arrest so that the stun is demonstrably irreversible – a necessity for Halal consumers.
There was a great deal of discussion and debate around the enforcement, or lack of, animal welfare law with particular reference to import/export and indiscriminate breeding. The general impression given by the veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses in attendance was one of frustration that these oft discussed issues are still not being effectively addressed and impotence that when they are faced with a potential animal welfare issue there is no clear path to follow.
The 2015 Discussion Forum concluded with a reception on the House of Commons terrace hosted by Neil Parish MP.
The Parliamentary Veterinary Internship is designed to support the activities of Professor the Lord Trees, with the successful candidate expected to work three days a week whilst Parliament is sitting (around 110-120 days a year).
The Westminster-based role is for one year (with a possibility to extend to two years), starting in October, with a salary of £17,000. The role has been advertised and applications close on Monday 27th April.
For full details of the position see the job advert.
Declaration of interest: This authors of this document declare they would wish to see all animals stunned before slaughter.
Statement of intention: This document is intended for the public, politicians and professionals and aims to present an unbiased, factual and up-to-date account of the current information available on non-stun slaughter.
Please download a copy of the latest VPRF Animal Welfare and Non-Stun Slaughter Factfile using the link below:
Record of Edits July 2014 – Initial document published
November 2015 – Updated to include new legislation (WATOK (England) 2015) and new estimates for numbers of animals slaughtered using stun and non-stun methods.
June 2016 – Further updates to include reference to result of EU referendum.
October 2016 – Update to include results of a survey of UK Islamic scholars on perception and acceptability of stunning
Adam Quinney: Farmer and former Vice-President, NFU
Professor Rosie Woodroffe: Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
Dr Miles Parker OBE FSB: Senior Research Associate, Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge
We were also due to hear from Professor Ian Boyd, Government Chief Scientific Adviser at DEFRA, but due to the impending release of the IEP Report he was unable to attend.
Mr Quinney summarised the history of bTB controls in the UK and highlighted the distrust between the farming community and DEFRA. Professor Woodroffe gave a talk to explain how infections spread, what factors affect the reproductive rate of an infection and her thoughts on vaccination as a strategy for badgers. Dr Parker came third with a talk about trends in the incidence and prevalence of bTB since the FMD outbreak in 2001/02. He outlined methods for managing bTB and re-iterated the point that vaccination alone is not wholly effective; a comprehensive strategy is necessary.
In summary it was agreed that whilst there is much polarisation over some aspects of bTB control, there is widespread consensus on others. It is important to build a strategy upon those latter aspects. It would also be great to hear a projection for cattle vaccine introduction that isn’t perpetually ‘about 10 years away’.