Veterinarian Dr Michael Banyard has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) as part of the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours. Dr Banyard is the immediate past-President of the Australian Veterinary Conservation Biology (AVCB) special interest group of the AVA, and received the award for his contribution to veterinary science including conservation, urban animal management and children’s pet education.
Dr Banyard is still on the AVCB Executive Committee and is passionate about wildlife conservation and the link between human health and the health of wildlife and the environment.
In light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Dr Banyard said the fact that Government listened to scientists in responding to the pandemic, highlights that they should also be listening to scientific knowledge on environmental issues such as climate change and other emerging diseases.
“Australia stands alone almost in being an extremely good example of how public health measures, driven by good science, were able to have a very successful outcome in controlling the pandemic. If only one thing could come of the pandemic, it should be that policymakers and government realise the same scientific knowledge should be applied to climate change and other emerging diseases", said Dr Banyard.
On receiving the honour, Dr Banyard said he was surprised but pleased. “A bit surprised really because working with the profession has been an ongoing labour of love since about 1986. But still, I was very pleased to receive the acknowledgment and hope that it encourages others to contribute their energies to good causes”.
A total of 933 Australians were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List. Several other veterinarians received honours, including former Victorian Premier Dr Denis Napthine for distinguished service to the people and Parliament of Victoria, to veterinary science, and to the community. The late Dr Michele Cotton, a former member of the AVCB was also honoured for significant service to veterinary science, to education, and to professional organisations.
South Australian zoo veterinarian Dr David Schultz was honoured for significant service to veterinary medicine, to zoological societies, and to philanthropy. University of Melbourne Professor of Veterinary Biosciences Elizabeth Tudor, was honoured for significant service to veterinary science, to tertiary education, and to animal welfare. Dr Ray Ferguson of Monash Veterinary Clinic in Victoria was also honoured for service to veterinary science.