In January, I attended my first AVS (the Association of Veterinary Students) congress. It was a fantastic event, featuring inspiring talks and lectures, fascinating practicals and the infamous AVS ball.
I would strongly urge any vet student to attend congress at least once during their time at vet school – aside from all the events available during the weekend, it’s a great opportunity to meet students from other vet schools and make valuable contacts that you may well need in the future. It certainly opened my eyes and made me realise just how small the veterinary world can be.
TV vet Mark Abraham opened the event with a talk to illustrate his achievements and work to date. He talked briefly about his Pup Aid campaign, which aims to prevent puppy farming in the UK and promote obtaining puppies from registered breeders or rescue centres only.
In addition, he gave some valuable advice: fight for a cause you believe in and use the media to your advantage.
He reiterated the importance of media within the veterinary world, which includes not only journals and papers within the profession, but other forms such as TV and social media that are more accessible to the general public.
In particular, he emphasised the impact that Twitter has had on spreading the word about the Pup Aid campaign. With the support of well known celebrities “retweeting” the link to the online e-petition, Marc gained the required number of signatures, and puppy farming is currently being debated in Parliament as a result.
A recent storyline on Eastenders involved breeding a dog and selling the puppies as a way to make money. This is a crucial example of the impact the media can have on public opinion. After seeing this, many viewers may be inspired to do the same in order to make a bit of spare cash, which is exactly the sort of attitude that the Pup Aid campaign is trying to abolish.
In today’s age of technological advancement, there are so many media platforms available to bring the veterinary world into the public eye. We must use this to our advantage, whether that is to promote campaigns such as Pup Aid, raise awareness of veterinary issues or even to promote individual practices and the services they provide.
The media is a powerful thing, and we must not forget that just because it sometimes feels like we live in a bubble that is the veterinary world.
- Marc’s petition to ban the sale of young puppies and kittens without their mothers being present runs until 02/05/2014 – SIGN THE PETITION HERE!