Code of Professional Conduct

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The purpose of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) Members Code of Professional Conduct is to provide a framework for applying the core values, principles and standards of the Australian Veterinary Association and to guide members in their conduct with animals, clients, colleagues and the community. Exemplary professional conduct upholds the dignity and the public trust vested in the veterinary profession.

The State Veterinary Boards regulate the minimum professional standards expected of veterinarians. AVA members hold themselves to a higher standard of personal and professional integrity.

By becoming a member of the Australian Veterinary Association, individuals are agreeing to abide by the Australian Veterinary Association Members Code of Professional Conduct.

Values Statement

Professionalism: We behave ethically, tell the truth and aim for the highest possible standards in everything that we do.

Knowledge: We base our decisions on evidence and actively seek out advances in knowledge.

Community: People are our greatest resource and we facilitate interactions to share knowledge, advance science in support of those in need.

Adaptability: We embrace change and innovation, seek new ideas, look for trends and strive to adapt quickly.

Australian Veterinary Association Members Code of Professional Conduct

  1. Hold as a key concern, the health, welfare and respectful treatment of animals.1
  2. Ensure veterinary recommendations and decisions are based upon the health and welfare of the animal, the safety of the public, the needs of the client and the need to uphold the public trust vested in the veterinary profession. Members will proactively manage conflicts of interest by taking steps to identify and avoid or declare and manage any real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest.
  3. Be cognisant of their sphere of competence, and seek further education, advice, assistance and/ or referral where appropriate.
  4. Ensure that they understand the regulatory framework in which they operate2.
  5. Understand and comply with not only the letter of the law but actively promote the spirit of all relevant laws, regulations, standards, and guidelines.2, 3, 4
  6. Attend to their own health and well being in order to provide care of the highest standard and support colleagues to do the same.
  7. Take personal responsibility to uphold the good reputation and integrity of the veterinary profession and the Australian Veterinary Association by promoting and not publicly contradicting AVA values, policies and guidelines. 4,5
  8. Ensure communication in all forms with and about professional colleagues and members of the public is respectful and professional.6
Further information:
  1. AVA Welfare Statement of Principles
  2. The Veterinary Legislative Environment
  3. The provision of optimum veterinary services to the horse racing industry
  4. AVA Policy Compendium
  5. Veterinarians in the Media Policy
  6. Equality Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Unprofessional Conduct:

State Veterinary Boards have the regulatory responsibility for veterinary professional conduct. If an individual becomes aware or concerned regarding alleged unprofessional conduct by a veterinarian, the appropriate steps include;

  1. Wherever appropriate and possible, addressing any concerns first with the relevant individual.
  2. If the alleged breach of the code relates to a violation of the state’s Veterinary Practice Act or other legislative obligation, including State Veterinary Board Codes of Conduct, then the complainant should report the complaint to the State Veterinary Board or other relevant legislative authority. The complaint process varies by state legislative authority, and individuals are encouraged to contact the appropriate legislative authority for the complaint procedure.

AVA Procedures for handling breaches of the AVA Members Code of Professional Conduct:

The Australian Veterinary Association is a member organization and considers that the AVA Members Code of Professional Conduct acts to encourage professionalism amongst its members, rather than having a punitive function.

If a member becomes aware or concerned regarding alleged breaches of the AVA Members Code of Professional Conduct by another member, the appropriate steps include:

  1. Wherever appropriate and possible, addressing any concerns first with the relevant individual
  2. If the alleged breach of the code relates to a violation of the state’s veterinary practice act or other legislative obligation, including state veterinary board codes of conduct, then the complainant should report the complaint to the State Veterinary Board or other relevant legislative authority. The complaint process varies by state legislative authority, and members are encouraged to contact the appropriate legislative authority for the complaint procedure.

Members of the AVA may lodge formal complaints regarding other members against the Australian Veterinary Association Members Code of Professional Conduct as outlined in Section 11 of the AVA Constitution. Sections 11 and 12 of the AVA Constitution outline the possible outcomes of the complaints process. (AVA Constitution - May 2019)