The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) this week issued a joint statement, entitled “The Essential Role of Veterinarians in Protecting Animal, Human, Public, and Environmental Health—A Global Public Good.” The statement emphasizes the important role veterinarians play in the protection human and public health by controlling animal disease.

AVMA, European veterinary group, issue joint statementThe organizations note that while the public appreciates the role of veterinarians in caring for the health and well-being of companion and farm animals, their additional roles in protecting and advancing human, public, and environmental health are less recognized.

Examples of these roles include:

  • Investigating animal and human disease outbreaks and developing and implementing programs to enhance epidemiologic understanding, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and eradication of such diseases.
  • Building global surveillance systems to enhance early detection of, and response to, disease threats.
  • Ensuring the safety and nutritious value of all food of animal origin—from the farm to the fork.
  • Teaching the next generation of veterinarians, other medical professionals, and other scientists.
  • Conducting research to advance animal, human, public, and environmental health and welfare.
  • Evaluating the safety and efficacy of medicines, medical products, animal foods, and food additives.
  • Building and rebuilding health infrastructures and helping communities around the world recover from manmade and natural disasters such as war, political unrest, hurricanes, and tsunamis.
  • Protecting the environment through programs that manage animal agricultural waste, dispose of pharmaceuticals in a safe manner, and promote sustainable development.
  • Working with captive and free-ranging wildlife to protect biodiversity and advance species conservation efforts. 

“Diseases don’t respect national or international boundaries,” says AVMA President Dr. Clark K. Fobian. “By working with our colleagues around the globe, we can do more to protect the health, safety and welfare of animals, people and the environment worldwide.”

The two groups stress the veterinary profession is an essential component of One Health, the integrative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals, and the environment. Further, the groups say, the veterinary profession is a global public good as defined by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Because of these beliefs, both organizations will actively promote all roles that veterinarians play through public outreach campaigns and advocacy at the national and international levels. In so doing, the FVE and AVMA are committed to working together to ensure that necessary resources are available to advance the veterinary profession on a global level.