27 February 2015
BVA Junior Vice President Sean Wensley and Director of Policy, Media & Strategy Sally Burnell met with MEPs at the European Parliament in Brussels on 25 and 26 February. Discussions with MEPs Alyn Smith (BVA Honorary Associate), Catherine Bearder, Jaqueline Foster, Molly Scott Cato and Keith Taylor - as well as meetings with researchers to Glenis Willmott (BVA Honorary Associate) and Dr Kay Swinburne - focused on a number of key issues including
welfare at slaughter and labelling,
antimicrobial resistance, trade in wild-caught reptiles and amphibians and the keeping of exotics as pets, and the illegal puppy trade. The meetings provided a good opportunity to expound the veterinary and animal welfare perspectives of these topics. The MEPs were also particularly interested to hear an update from Sean on the development of BVA's Animal Welfare Strategy.
The team's visit coincided with European Pet Night, run by IFAH-Europe and hosted by MEPs Julie Girling MEP (UK) and Norbert Lins (Germany), which this year showcased the many ways in which pets benefit people across Europe by being their eyes, ears, legs, working partners or simply their companion. The guest speaker this year was Claire Guest from Medical Detection Dog who explained how alert dogs are trained to help people with severe cases of diabetes. Again, it was a good opportunity to meet with some of the key organisations operating in Brussels.
Sean and Sally also attended a lunch debate on antimicrobial resistance in the European Parliament chaired by Fredrick Federley MEP (Sweden); held particularly useful discussions with animal welfare policy coordinator Paolo Dalla Villa from the Animal Welfare Unit at the European Commission's Director General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE); and caught up on a number of European veterinary matters with Nancy De Briyne from the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE).
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