Media Release

Barks all round for Aussie vets

26 April 2014

Today Australia can celebrate its freedom from some of world’s most dangerous animal diseases, in part because of the work of its veterinarians.

This World Veterinary Day, Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, recognised the work veterinarians perform across the country in small animal practices, in developing animal welfare standards and animal health policies and in contributing to a viable, vibrant and productive agricultural sector.

“I know that many farmers rely on vets to protect the health of their herds and I believe veterinarians play a vital role more broadly in Australian and global food security.

“In my department, vets play a national and sometimes world leading role in detecting animal diseases. This role is essential in ensuring food safety as well as a productive and profitable agriculture sector,” Minister Joyce said.

“The detection and monitoring of diseased animals is as essential for human health as it is for maintaining Australia’s reputable animal-health status.

“The Department of Agriculture employs approximately 300 veterinarians, making it the largest employer of vets in Australia, playing a key role in ensuring that Australia’s livestock and aquatic industries remain profitable, sustainable and competitive.

“The department works closely with the Australian Veterinary Association on a number of policy issues, including ongoing Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) preparedness activities.

“While our efforts continue to keep FMD out of Australia, we know outbreaks could cost our agriculture sector $50 billion over 10 years. The role our vets play is priceless, not just in looking after our pets but in underpinning our agricultural productivity.”

Australian vets work with developing countries in our region to strengthen their veterinary services, improve the health and productivity of livestock and at the same time enhance Australia’s biosecurity defences.

“Recently, Australian vets have assisted with animal health surveys in Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste, and worked with Indonesian authorities to strengthen their animal health system to meet the challenges presented by emerging infectious diseases,” Minister Joyce said.

Each year, veterinary professions around the world celebrate World Veterinary Day on the third Saturday of April, raising public awareness about the importance of veterinarians in areas such as public health, food safety, environmental protection, animal welfare and poverty reduction.

For more information visit Australia Indonesia Partnership for Emerging Infectious Diseases