I wonder how many of us believed the warnings when we started at vet school that in ten years’ time half of us would not be in vet practice? Certainly not me for sure. As a member of the pre-James Herriott generation (only just mind!), I was sure that the only type of vet I wanted to be was in a nice mixed practice in England with nice clients, lots of equipment and medicines and a clean, warm building to work in. Not much chance of that growing up in Birmingham, but there you go – the innocence of youth! And then I discovered travel, the world outside and the needs of others where there is no guaranteed cosy home, food, water, health and medicine. And that is not just for animals, but for their owners too.
And so began a long journey for me through research and product development in industry to finally a place where I can think again about those early sights of the world out there. If I have learnt anything in that time, it is what an enormous variety of options there are available to us within the veterinary profession. Many more than to the poor livestock keepers that GALVmed was created to help. With the range of training that we are given, the skills that we can develop along the way and our lucky start in life, we are well-equipped to take on the complex animal health problems that abound in poorer parts of the world. On a day like World Veterinary Day, it is a good chance to remember our colleagues struggling with these issues around the world. We talk of ‘One Health’ a lot currently in the developed world, but in the developing world the link is so close between owners and their livestock in terms of survival that there is no need to remind anyone about the importance of veterinary input into human wellbeing.
So from the early days of my career practicing in England, to now having the opportunity to see veterinary medicine practiced in the field in Africa and South Asia, it is a lesson in the global nature of veterinary science, and an opportunity to celebrate the profession that binds us together, wherever we may have qualified or wherever we may now work. GALVmed is an organisation that relishes its role in bringing together academics, practitioners, product developers, policy makers and businesses to try to solve problems for poor farmers. In my mind, it’s an embodiment of a veterinary organisation with an important role in the world. Happy World Veterinary Day!
This year’s World Veterinary Day (25th April) is focusing on Vector-borne diseases with Zoonotic potential. Vector-borne zoonotic diseases are becoming a major public health concern in fact scientists estimate that more than 6 out of every 10 infectious diseases in humans are spread from animals. At GALVmed, we work on a number of zoonotic diseases not only to protect livestock from these diseases but humans as well.