The first decade of the Animal Welfare Act - has it worked?

bva awf10 years on from the introduction of the Animal Welfare Acts 2006 (England and Wales, Scotland) and following the Efra Committee Inquiry on animal welfare, leading vets are coming together to discuss the progress and pit falls of the Acts’ first decade at the annual Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Discussion Forum at One Great George Street, London, on 6 June.

An expert panel made up of those who work with the legislation daily, will explore advancements in animal welfare since 2006 while also considering the Acts’ effectiveness for both large and small animals. As understanding of animals’ welfare needs continues to advance, speakers will also debate where improvements are now required to ensure all animals in the UK are protected.

The session, ‘The first decade of the Animal Welfare Act – has it worked?’ will be chaired by AWF Trustee Chris Laurence, a key member of the group that created the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and speakers for this session include:

  • Mike Radford, Aberdeen University - Setting the scene
  • Michael Park, Head of Exotics and Welfare, APHA - Is the Animal Welfare Act working for large animals?
  • David Bowles, Assistant Director External Affairs - Is the Animal Welfare Act working from the companion animal and equine perspective?

Tiffany Hemming, Chair of Trustees for AWF, said:
“AWF is very proud of the positive and practical impact it has made on the health and welfare of large and small animals and we invite all those interested in improving animal welfare to be part of the debate this year. I believe that education and debate is the starting point for change, and this year we have a particularly impressive group of speakers hailing from veterinary practice, animal welfare organisations, universities, government and industry.”

Sean Wensley, President of the British Veterinary Association, said:
“This is an exceptional conference that examines some of the most critically important issues for animal welfare. BVA’s members have identified promoting animal welfare as the profession’s top priority so I would encourage all vets to attend, hear from the experts and be part of these vital discussions.”

The AWF Discussion Forum is attended by leading vets, vet nurses, animal welfare organisations and other key influencers and, this year, will also be holding sessions on non-traditional (‘exotic’) companion animals, and debating the controversial topic of livestock welfare in intensive farming for meat production. During the afternoon, Freda Scott -Park will offer an update about the pioneering Links Project.

On the evening of 6 June, AWF and BVA are jointly hosting a reception at the House of Commons offering delegates the opportunity to continue discussing the Forum’s issues with parliamentarians. This year the reception will also be attended by Presidents and Chief Executives of the member associations that make up the International Veterinary Officers Coalition, which is being hosted by BVA in London from 7 – 9 June.

Tickets for the AWF Discussion Forum are still available at