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The future role of the veterinary profession in protecting and improving farm animal welfare Christopher Wathes Acknowledgements: Nick Bell, Dan Brockman,

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Presentation on theme: "The future role of the veterinary profession in protecting and improving farm animal welfare Christopher Wathes Acknowledgements: Nick Bell, Dan Brockman,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The future role of the veterinary profession in protecting and improving farm animal welfare Christopher Wathes Acknowledgements: Nick Bell, Dan Brockman, Sandra Corr, Steve Lister, Claire Wathes, Colin Whittemore, Steven Van Winden and Angela Wright

2 A veterinary education produces a comparative zoologist with expertise in animal disease and comparative biology, who is an analyser and solver of complex veterinary problems Wicked problems 1. Are vets professionals? 2. To whom are vets responsible? The client, the patient or their business? 3. What should be their future role and who should be their role model? 2

3 Depth vs. Breadth of knowledge Of a Vet Scientist Para – vet Consultant At day one After board certification or PhD With experience 3 At graduation PhD Board-certified With experience

4 Broiler chickens; 840 m Farmed salmon; ~80 m Lambs; 16 m from 15 m ewes Pigs; 9 m from 0.45 m sows Cattle; 2.6 m from 3.5 m cows Milk; 13 m l from 1.9 m dairy cows Eggs; 9 b from 30 m hens Laboratory procedures; 3.5 m Cats and dogs; ~20 m 4 Animals in the UK in 2009

5 5 ActScope Cruel Treatment of Cattle 1822Prevent cruel treatment of cattle Protection of Animals 1911Avoid unnecessary suffering - through an act of commission or omission Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) 1968 Prevention of unnecessary pain and distress for livestock; powers of entry Animal Welfare 2006Provision of animal needs Cruelty to Animals 1876A licensing system for animal experimentation Animals (Scientific Procedures) 1986 Improved licensing system for animal experimentation British Law on Animal Welfare

6 6 "By 2020, if not earlier, in China and India a middle class of about 700 to 750 million people with a buying power comparable to that in Europe today, will have completely changed the market situation for food in East and South Central Asia. Professor Hans-Wilhelm Windhorst; International Egg Commission Feeding the world: Sustainable intensification with compassion

7 Quality of a life Commercia l practice Legislation Citizens attitudes 7 How do we ensure an acceptable quality of life for a farm animal?

8 Dont know and dont care Dont know but do care Know but dont care Know and care 8 After Donald Rumsfeld, 2002

9 9 Welfare and Ethics Market forces Lesser of two evils Political dilemmas Poultry slaughter Gatherings Castration & tail docking

10 10 Welfare and Economics Milk – Farm 26 p/l Milk – Supermarket 67 p/l Water – Supermarket 40 p to £1/l

11 11 A good life A life worth living A life not worth living Quality of a Life © Farm Animal Welfare Council, 2009 Classification Policy Welfare surveillance Retail marketing Decision making Veterinary treatment InvestmentAnimal use The question is not just, Do they suffer? nor, Are their needs met? but rather, Do they have a life worth living? Farm Animal Welfare Council, 2010.

12 12 Public surveillance l Welfare guardianship l Compliance with legislation; Ensuring minimum standards met l Governments responsibility l Animal Health/VLA survey; LA & FSA/MHS inspections l Published Welfare surveillance Private surveillance l Farm management; Consumer assurance l Farm profitability; Marketing l Farmers responsibility (within the food supply chain) l Self-assessment; Farm assurance schemes l Confidential

13 13 Guarding the welfare of farm animals Government policy Implementation and regulatory enforcement Public surveillance Information

14 14 Necessary conditions for ethical consumers and improved farm animal welfare 1.The Government to act as the guardian of farm animal welfare 2.Standards for a good life defined by an independent body 3.Minimum welfare standard defined by quality of life 4.Stockmen to be educated and trained to a high standard about welfare 5.Welfare assessment to be valid, feasible and rigorous with independent audit 6.Due diligence in the food chain with marketing claims verified 7.Citizens educated about food and farming from childhood 8.Animal products to be labelled according to welfare provenance to provide consumer choice

15 Problems and solutions 1.University fees paying back the loan Who pays for what? Choices … 2.Veterinary curriculum Dont overcrowd 3.Vet. undergraduates are mostly women, who will work in small animal practice Whats the problem? 4.Interest of vets in inspection for QA schemes Incentivise and train 5.Knowledge of animal husbandry UG tracking and PG CPD courses on animal breeding, nutrition, housing, management 6.Disease prevention vs. Fire fighting Payment for health and welfare plans. Visits to the dentist … 7.Individual vs. Herd An ethical dilemma: the solution depends on the role model 8.Sustainable intensification OK if its done with compassion 9.Physical vs. Mental health Count feelings too 10.Patient vs. Client An ethical dilemma: the solution depends on the role model 11.Guardians of farm animal welfare Accept the responsibility? 15 "In as much as the privilege of membership of The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is about to be conferred upon me, I promise and solemnly declare that I will abide in all due loyalty to The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and will do all in my power to maintain and promote its interests. I promise above all that I will pursue the work of my profession with uprightness of conduct and that my constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of animals committed to my care.

16 Role models? Agri-business vet l Paid by and working for farmers (and the food chain) l Roles: part of the agricultural service sector, often supporting farm assurance schemes; private welfare surveillance without publication l Duties: advice to farmers; problem solving; fire fighting Societys vet l Paid for by the tax-payer, allowing them to sleep easily l Roles: protect human health and wellbeing; public welfare surveillance with findings published l Duties: advice to citizens; public health; a welfare guardian 16


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