Veterinarians are key to protecting industry

26 Apr 2019

On 27 April, we celebrate World Veterinary Day and this year's theme is the Value of Vaccination.

President of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), Dr Paula Parker says veterinarians are indispensable to the prosperity and security of farmers and industry, whether advising on animal health and welfare, or helping to create and implement biosecurity management plans.

"A core part of a veterinarian's work is vaccination, which most farmed and domesticated animals require in the first couple of months after birth, and some need to be repeated on a regular basis. Immunisation is done to protect the animal and the herd, but also to safeguard humans from illness and industries from disruption," said Dr Parker.

The Australian livestock industry’s on-farm assurance program covers food safety, animal welfare and biosecurity and requires evidence of livestock history and on-farm practices when transferring livestock. To help farmers with these demands, the AVA developed the BIOCHECK® biosecurity and WELFARECHECK® welfare plans.

"These are incredibly useful tools which demonstrate that the major risks of a farm have been discussed with a veterinarian and that the plans made to manage these risks are appropriate to the individual enterprise," said Dr Parker.

"In addition, the AVA is currently working with Animal Medicines Australia on the development of antimicrobial prescribing guidelines for horses, pigs and other livestock species. We're extremely encouraged by the reaction of other industry groups to this initiative and their recognition of the veterinary profession’s leadership role in this area," said Dr Parker.

"Our work with regulators continues to raise awareness of the risk of Hendra virus (HeV) and educate about important precautions that must be taken to minimise the risk of infection in horses, people and dogs, including the critical importance of HeV vaccination of horses.

"As veterinarians we are acutely aware of the importance of animal and herd health both for the welfare of the animals and the farmer’s livelihood.

"If we have one message to get across, it's that prevention is better than cure and timing is critical.

"Vaccination definitely saves lives, as well as livelihoods." said Dr Parker.