Making animals matter: 2011 is World Veterinary Year

Apr 18, 2011

WSPA vet Dr Sergio Vásquez in a temporary shelter with dogs affected by the devastating floods in Brazil.

The world’s first veterinary school was founded in Lyon, France, in 1761 – this means that 2011 marks the 250th world anniversary of veterinary education, and has been designated the World Veterinary Year.

Throughout the year, animal welfare experts will meet at conferences and symposia, and specially-commissioned TV programs will highlight the role of veterinary science in reducing global hunger, controlling disease, monitoring food quality and promoting animal welfare.

Vets and WSPA

Animal welfare is fundamental to the veterinary profession. WSPA’s education program in animal welfare, developed over several years, is currently used by veterinary and animal science students around the world. Our Veterinary Emergency Response Units (VERUs), are based in university veterinary faculties and train vet students to respond to disasters as well as provide the equipment and systems they need.

In fact, we employ 24 vets of our own. They contribute to our research, campaigns and education programs and help co-ordinate our disaster response work.

Animal Welfare - Beyond Animal Health

Member Society PWLS' head vet Dr Yousef treats a donkey in Palestine.

At the 5th Pan Commonwealth Veterinary Conference in Ghana held from Mar. 21-25, three WSPA staff members reinforced the importance of integrating animal welfare into veterinary work. This signaled the beginning of WSPA’s large-scale engagement in Vet Year 2011.

Throughout 2011, WSPA staff from all over the globe will be involved in conferences and events to engage the veterinary world and its future employees in our argument that animal welfare matters, and consists of far more than merely ensuring the physical health of an animal.

WSPA International CEO Mike Baker, WSPA Asia Veterinary Programs Manager Natasha Lee and WSPA International Technical Advisor for Working Equines and Human Behavior Change Suzanne Rogers attended the conference in the African nation’s capital, Accra. There, they discussed animal welfare with a host of high-profile attendees from the Commonwealth’s veterinary communities and raised the profile of the campaign for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW).

WSPA also sponsored a workshop on animal welfare that was part of the conference. This provided a valuable opportunity to highlight the important role that veterinarians have all over the world in improving animal welfare and health. The event addressed the development of a much-needed strategy for animal welfare for key animal stakeholders in Africa such as The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The conference highlighted the important links between human health, animal welfare and the environment, emphasizing the vital role of veterinarians in working in partnership with other organizations to tackle the all issues involved together," said Rogers. “I represented WSPA at the session on working animals in which delegates from all over the world shared their knowledge and experience. They considered the best way, moving forward, to develop policies and standards to protect these hard-working animals, upon which so many people depend. Many delegates were keen to talk to us to hear about the work WSPA and our partners are doing and the developments we’re seeing – whether through our work to improve farm animal welfare, to end the inhumane culling of dogs and cats, or in disaster management.”

The next major event in the calendar of Vet Year is the World Conference on Veterinary Education, to be held in Lyon, France on May 13, where WSPA will promote the necessity of integrating animal welfare into veterinary work.

Read more about World Vet Year on the official website >>


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