A survey of vets found British origin was the most important factor in food buying © 123RF
A survey of vets found British origin was the most important factor in food buying © 123RF

Vets put animal welfare into food procurement policy

11 November 2016

Animal welfare and sustainability will be at the heart of the British Veterinary Associations (BVA) new food procurement policy.

The policy has been developed in line with the BVA’s animal welfare strategy and covers all food supplied at BVA meetings, as well as external catering at events like the BVA Gala dinner and lobbying events.

The policy aims to ensure that procurement of meat, fish and dairy products is in line with preferences recently expressed by the majority of BVA members in a survey. The survey found 90% of members cited British origin as being the most important factor in purchasing meat or dairy products.

After that the most important preferences were that produce would be locally sourced, which was favoured by 88% of respondents, that it was free range (77%), carrying a Red Tractor logo (57%) and featured the Freedom Food, now RSPCA Assured, logo (52%).

Suppliers to BVA members must now complete a checklist covering questions of origin, whether its free range and does food carry certifications such as Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Assured, the Red Tractor logo or RSPCA Assured. Food suppliers and retailers must also supply local or seasonal food whenever possible.  

BVA president Gudrun Ravetz said: “Ensuring the health and welfare of sentient animals is important as a marker of social progress and expanding our roles in these areas and debates is a commitment we have made through the Vet Futures project.”

She said the policy was an important step in signaling the importance the veterinary profession places on ensuring animal welfare is prioritised alongside other essential sustainability objectives. 

BVA is encouraging other veterinary organisations as well as members to adopt the policy in their own procurement arrangements.

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