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Food industry specialists come together for animal health and welfare event

Press release issued: 7 March 2018

Progressing animal welfare will be the focus of an Animal Health and Welfare Day jointly hosted by the University of Bristol Veterinary School and continental meat supplier Winterbotham Darby tomorrow [Thursday 8 March]. This annual event, now in its third year, will bring together academics, researchers, NGOs, major retailers, journalists and industry partners across the food sector.

Topics across the day include: Brexit and the welfare of farm animals, the future of free farrowing for sows and updates on two Winterbotham Darby research projects related to pigs and boar taint.  Delegates will have the opportunity to hear about the latest Vet School research on keel bones fractures in laying hens, antimicrobial resistance, also known as AMR, and electrical stunning for humane and Halal-compliant slaughter of cattle.  People will also be able to tour the pig and poultry facilities and abattoir.   The day will close with a debate on higher welfare and the business case for action.

Becky Whay, Professor of Animal Welfare and Behaviour at Bristol’s Vet School, said: “It is increasingly clear that consumers are wanting assurances that their food has been farmed with the welfare of the animal being of paramount importance. However, the supply chain is complex and while farm methods are much better, there is still a need to improve them across Europe.”

David Houghton, Technical Director for Winterbotham Darby, added: “We are really excited to host this event in conjunction with the University of Bristol.  Each year we see our delegate list grow -  a testament to the fact that this is the only event of its kind.  We want this event to be a facilitator of change and to motivate; we want to raise the profile of the challenges and solutions that we need to face into when it comes to animal welfare.  Whilst it is a complex issue we have been committed to improving animal welfare since 2000 and are keen to take our industry partners on this journey too.”

Further information

About the Bristol Veterinary School
The Bristol Veterinary School is situated at a dedicated site on the edge of the rural Mendips in the village of Langford, 14 miles south of Bristol.

Our 255-hectare estate is home to state-of-the-art facilities that are ideal for our researchers conducting a large variety of research activity, as well as being fundamental to our commitment in delivering first-rate teaching on all our undergraduate courses and postgraduate taught programmes.

Our site caters for the whole student experience and we've invested a large amount in facilities to make our students feel at home here during their time with us. This includes a new student common room and cafe, a new gym, and on-site accommodation.

We currently offer five undergraduate degrees and one taught Masters programme, with postgraduate research opportunities and certificate-level courses also available. All are delivered by academics who publish research regularly and share their cutting-edge research activity through their teaching. In the Bristol Veterinary School, our academics are leaders in their field, whose research helps inform national policies that can lead to developments within veterinary practice.

We also offer a number of commercial services that are strongly linked to our research output, from the Langford Abattoir to diagnostics services.

About Winterbotham Darby
Winterbotham Darby is a leading supplier of Continental meats to the UK retail and food manufacturing markets, with a commitment to lead and continually improve animal welfare.  With a heritage of bringing continental meats to the UK, they work with over 40 production partners to supply own label and branded lines to retailers and foodservice.  Their goal is to be a world-leading meat business through their animal welfare offer, innovation, sustainability, traceability and sourcing.  They work to unite their entire supply chain; from farmers to producers and customers with the same vision. They also ensure farmers work to the Winterbotham Darby pig standard, resulting in a best practice approach towards European animal welfare and farm assurance. 

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