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Posted: 22nd April 2021

Veterinary organisations endorse pledge to support action on climate change
89 per cent of vets surveyed in the BVA's recent Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey said that they would like to play a bigger part in the UK's sustainability agenda.

WVA statement recognises vets' role in protecting the environment.

A number or veterinary organisations from across the world have joined together this Earth Day (22 April 2021) to endorse the World Veterinary Association’s position on the Global Climate Change Emergency.

The World Veterinary Association's (WVA) position acknowledges the global climate change emergency and that veterinary professionals, in their role as advocates for animal health and welfare and public health, have a responsibility to actively work against it.

In summary, the position:

  1. acknowledges climate change as a global emergency and encourages research, surveillance, and education to increase understanding of its affects on animal, human, and ecosystem health
  2. supports a One Health approach to address climate change and calls for coordination and collaboration to mitigate its negative impact
  3. urges members of the veterinary profession to research, review and adopt practices that minimise greenhouse gas emissions
  4. supports continued research into and adoption of modern, efficient, and sustainable food and animal production techniques
  5. urges veterinary associations to build and enhance veterinary capacity to prevent and address consequences associated with climate change, such as extreme weather events and emerging and re-emerging diseases
  6. supports the strengthening of agricultural surveillance and other mitigating measures in agriculture, with emphasis on the role of the veterinary profession in improving animal and public health.

Sue Paterson, RCVS Council member and chair of the RCVS ‘Green Team’ said that the College was glad to join in the endorsement of the WVA statement.

“Endorsements are not enough, however,” she added, “and it is important that, as an organisation, we walk the walk. That’s why supporting grassroots activities such as those of the RCVS Green Team is crucial, because even the smallest changes matter, and on this Earth Day I would encourage all veterinary practices to take a similar approach of identifying where improvements can be made to reduce waste and emissions, using more sustainable products and giving back to the environment, whether that’s through volunteering days or tree-planting.”

BVA junior vice president, Justine Shotton said: “We know that many of our members care very deeply about environmental issues, with 89 per cent of those who took part in a recent Voice of the Veterinary Profession Survey saying that they would like to play a bigger part in the UK’s sustainability agenda.

“We join WVA in calling on all vets to consider what they can do to help protect the environment, and recommend looking at the ‘Greener Veterinary Practice Checklist’ to help move towards more sustainable ways of working.”

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