World Veterinary Day: Safeguarding animal welfare and food production during COVID-19

24 April 2020

In recognition of World Veterinary Day on 25 April, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is celebrating the vital contribution that veterinarians make to Australian agriculture.

Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp, said World Veterinary Day is a time to recognise the longstanding dedication of this profession to safeguarding animal and human health.

“Australia’s veterinarians improve the welfare of our animals, the productivity of our farms and the well-being of Australians,”
Dr Schipp said.

“Veterinarians fill a wide variety of essential roles, from directly treating animals to undertaking research, disease surveillance and food safety inspection.

“They also support agricultural trade by negotiating with trading partners and protecting our borders from biosecurity threats.

“Earlier this year our veterinarians stepped up in response to bushfires leading treatment of livestock and wildlife.

“The continuing work of veterinarians has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes veterinarians involved in research.

“The Australian government recently announced a $230 million funding boost for CSIRO’s Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, formerly known as the Australian Animal Health Laboratory.

“The funding will assist veterinarians and other scientists in efforts to develop a human vaccine against COVID-19. It will also support their continuing work in identifying, preventing and responding to the increasing threat of diseases, including those spreading from animals to humans. 

“The first-stage testing of potential vaccines against COVID-19 has already commenced.

“Veterinarians, in conjunction with the Australian Veterinary Association, have also played an important role in providing clear information about COVID-19 virus to the owners of pets and other animals in Australia.

“All of our lives have been impacted by Covid-19, however maintaining animal welfare and food production amidst COVID-19 disruptions is critical and important to all Australians.

“The continued dedication of veterinarians has ensured that these have been protected, and the world-leading reputation of Australia’s food production system remains as strong as ever.”

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