Australian veterinarians are essential to the health and wellbeing of Australian communities

24 Apr 2024

Veterinarians are celebrated as essential health workers on World Veterinary Day Saturday 27 April 2024.

"On World Veterinary Day, we want to recognise and celebrate the essential role the veterinary profession has in society," said Dr Diana Barker, President of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA).

"Veterinary services are essential to the community, just like human health care or education," Dr Barker said.

This is a day to celebrate and continue to recognise the work, contribution, value, and resilience of veterinarians throughout our country.

Vets often work through gruelling conditions. They work with individual animals and their owners, assist in or manage emergency responses and perform public health roles to benefit the broader community.

"Our veterinarians are always there for the community," said Dr Barker. "They respond to overnight emergencies, support clients coping with the loss of their pets, and engage in various other roles. These include scientific research, biosecurity, food security, One Health, human-animal interactions, animal welfare, infectious disease control, and policy fields".  

Similar to human health, the community expects the veterinary profession to provide services for private (individual) benefit and also deliver services that benefit the public (public good). This aspect of a vet's work, often invisible to society, is crucial. Protecting and improving the health of people and their communities is an essential part of the veterinary profession and a core component of One Health.

Animals are deeply embedded into the Australian way of life socially, culturally, and economically. 69% of Australian households have pets, that's 16.64 million people living with pets. The combined annual revenue of the livestock, racing, and pet industries is $105 billion per annum.

Through AVA's strong advocacy work, veterinarians were formally recognised as essential health workers alongside human health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, a testament to their invaluable contribution to society.

"It's obvious that veterinarians are vital members of communities worldwide," Dr Barker said.
Available for interview: Dr Diana Barker, AVA President. 

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