The Animal Welfare Federation (AWF) Discussion Forum 2017

The Animal Welfare Federation held its 2017 discussion forum in London on 5th June, inviting vets, vet nurses, animal welfare organisations, the media and parliamentarians to challenge current welfare issues and encourage change.

The Agria team was there too to hear the discussions, opened by AWF Chair, Chris Laurence, who said, “We aim to use veterinary knowledge and science to improve animal welfare.”

First on agenda was the topic, “Is modern life incompatible with pet ownership?’, introduced by James Yeates, Chief Veterinary Officer at the RSPCA. James talked about a range of issues that affect pets living in modern society, from over-affection to obesity and stress, with the overriding message, ‘We need to make sure people understand how their lives impact on the animals they keep.”

The Director of Canine Behaviour and Researcher at Dogs Trust, Dr Rachel Casey, spoke on the topic, ‘Is it a Dog’s life?’. She commented on how RVC research says the driver for buying certain breeds of dogs is not health-led but led by appearance.

She also discussed how owners need to consider the welfare needs of the individual animal and match pets to their lifestyle before selecting one. She talked about how innovative education can encourage responsible pet ownership and teach what being responsible is really about – and the idea of including animal welfare education into the curriculum for children to grasp from an early age.

Further topics covered included ‘Are vets failing our horses?’, ‘The future of animal welfare’ and ‘Animal establishment licensing’. The session concluded with the President of the British Veterinary Association, Gudrun Ravetz, discussing how vets and vet nurses have a unique opportunity to advocate and be aspirational about animal welfare by coming together to support the needs of our pets.

You can watch the full debate on the AWF YouTube channel at: