FAO, WHO and OIE define veterinary public health as "The contributions to the physical, mental and social well-being of humans through an understanding and application of veterinary science".
This encompasses ensuring a safe and wholesome food supply; epidemiology, emergency preparedness and the control of communicable (including zoonotic) diseases; and other actions to enhance human wellbeing and conserve the environment.
The Australian Veterinarians in Public Health Group caters for veterinarians with an interest in these areas as well as more general areas of food safety and animal disease epidemics which may cross infect humans.
Public health veterinarians work in many fields including:
- meat inspection and issues relating to meat and food contamination
- microbiology, virology and cellular and molecular biology particularly in relation to animal/human pathogens
- species specialities particularly poultry and pigs
- government work in endemic animal disease control, exotic disease control, epidemiology, regulation and aspects of drug use and residues.