BBC’s Countryfile offers viewers a window on rural life and often showcases the lives of those working in food production in the UK. However, BCVA was concerned with a segment from the 17 March edition, which focussed on the apparent failings of food standard schemes.
The dramatic scenes of animal neglect will have been shocking to us all, yet BCVA believes such reprehensible behaviour is rare, and the footage shown does not represent the majority of UK farming practices.
“BCVA remains supportive of food standard schemes, such as Red Tractor, as an integral way to enable consumers to make healthy decisions that uphold animal welfare in this country. Gaining a certificate to participate in these schemes must be deserved.” says President Nikki Hopkins.
“Over the years I’ve seen how these standards have helped to demonstrate British farming’s commitment to high welfare – and enabled consumers to select food produced to those high standards. Our job as farm vets is not to stand by where welfare is compromised – it is to help our farmers achieve healthy herds and work with them to continually raise welfare levels.”
On a daily basis cattle vets work with the British farming community to ensure that welfare standards are met and to support the best practices operated by the farmers we work alongside. In the rare event where those standards are not met, we are held by a Code of Professional Conduct to put the welfare of animals first. As a regulated profession working under the RCVS, if a vet where to be found to have falsely certified a document, that vet’s professional standing will be placed in jeopardy – it is our experience that this price is too high for any vet to consider.
In farm animal practice, the relationship between vet and client is exactly that – a relationship and a commitment to work together for the benefit of the farmer, vet and most importantly the stock. No farm vet should feel under any obligation to sign a certificate they know to be undeserved due to outstanding welfare issues.
This is an important time for welfare in food production, and BCVA is working with government agencies to ensure that as we develop new standards, welfare is the highest priority in British farming, so consumers can buy British with confidence.
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