NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 2, Edition 5
Vet community steps up animal welfare profile
Posted: March 6, 2014
Latest example is new joint statement from AVMA and FVE
Dr. Duane Landals during one of his family's horse-packing adventures in Alberta
As the world of farm animal care continues to evolve in the new landscape of sustainability, various interests both within and outside the veterinary community are looking at the role of veterinarians with a different language and a different perspective.
It's all part of a new environment and new lexicon taking shape. Among the latest indications is a new statement, "The essential role of veterinarians in protecting animal, human, public and environmental health," delivered jointly by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE).
The report observes that the public has a strong appreciation for the important role of veterinarians in the United States and Europe who are engaged in clinical practice caring for the health and well-being of companion and farm/ranch animals. However, the myriad other roles veterinarians play in protecting and advancing human, public, and environmental health are less recognized by the public, yet are essential to the continued well-being of people and animals at the local, national, regional, and international levels.
Underscores welfare focus
A key area highlighted in the report is animal welfare. The step up in profile indicates a broader trend taking shape across the globe, including in Canada. This fits observations made earlier in NewStream by Dr. Duane Landals, a well-known long-time leader and champion of farm animal welfare in Alberta, whose involvement and influence has extended across Canada and internationally. Landals is former Registrar of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) and a former long-serving aboard member of Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC).
"Veterinarians have always dealt with care of animals," says Landals. "That's our job. We provide proper medical care, preventative medicine, and consultation on nutrition, environment and all of the other things that animals need to be productive and healthy. What's changed, I think, is that suddenly now instead of all of that being what we'd normally consider normal production practices, we say those are the tools that are necessary for an animal to be in a state of good welfare."
The basic things veterinarians do are still the same, he says. "But people are looking at the importance of what we do in a broader way and that is leading to an evolution in how our role is perceived and ultimately how it is delivered. One example I can see is that as the industry looks more toward assessment approaches for animal welfare, veterinarians can both provide technical expertise and consultation and also play a role in providing third-party assessments."