April 25 on World Veterinary Day 2020, we’re celebrating veterinarians and the invaluable work they do on the frontline contributing to the health of animals and society.
The global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic highlights the important and essential role that veterinarians play in the areas of biosecurity, food security and the health and welfare of animals - as part of the World Health Organisation’s One Health approach of bringing together multiple sectors to achieve optimal public health outcomes.
The theme of World Veterinary Day 2020 is environmental protection for improving animal and human health, so this year we’re celebrating the work of veterinarians to protect our environment. As One Health advocates, veterinarians know that environmental, human and animal health are inextricably linked. Negative changes to our environment will ultimately harm ourselves and the animals we share this earth with. Veterinarians, in their role as advocates for animal health and welfare, have a responsibility as well as the opportunity to safeguard our environment for future generations.
As the leaders in animal health and welfare, looking after companion animals, livestock or wildlife, veterinarians are proactive in enhancing the health and welfare of Australia’s animals. Veterinarians play a vital role in detecting animal disease and protecting Australia’s favourable disease-free status, ensuring the safety of the food we eat, scientific research and combatting antimicrobial resistance.
Veterinarians advocate for the health and welfare of livestock
Veterinarians in the livestock industry work to maintain animal health and welfare, such as through inspecting animals and ensuring food safety in abattoirs, plus working within the agricultural sector detecting animal disease to ensure exotic diseases don’t impact Australia.
Through the WELFARECHECK® program, cattle veterinarians guide farmers through the process of producing a farm animal welfare plan, which enables farmers to demonstrate that they have properly considered animal welfare risks for their individual farm and that this will be recognised as a higher standard of welfare management by processors, industry and the general public.
Cattle veterinarians also promote the PREgCHECK® and BIOCHECK® programs. PREgCHECK® is a national recognised tail tagging system for the identification and certification of cattle pregnancy status. BIOCHECK® is a technology where vets can assist farmers to develop a biosecurity plan to ensure that their farm has considered the major biosecurity risks and has appropriate risk management strategies in place.
Veterinarians contribute to bushfire response
In the recent bushfires which affected large areas across Australia, veterinarians were on the frontline treating burnt and injured wildlife, livestock and companion animals. This included vets from private practice, Government, universities, zoos, not-for-profit groups and the defence forces. Estimates of the number of native animals killed in the bushfires exceeded one billion, and veterinarians are also involved in ongoing conservation efforts to mitigate the threat to fire-affected wildlife species.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the essential service that veterinarians provide has been recognised by the Government, and on this World Veterinary Day we acknowledge and celebrate the vital role vets play in our society, especially during this challenging time.
For more information on the important work done by veterinarians, check out the following articles: