World Veterinary Day takes place annually on the last Saturday of April and today veterinary professionals from around the world are attempting to raise awareness of the profession’s role in rabies prevention and control.

World Veterinary Day takes place annually on the last Saturday of April and today (April 30) veterinary professionals from around the world are attempting to raise awareness of the profession’s role in rabies prevention and control.

Lt. Col. Raveesh Chhajed, a veterinarian from the Indian Army, gives a rabies vaccination to a family dog during a veterinarian civil-assistance program in support of Pacific Partnership. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bryan M. Ilyankoff.The World Veterinary Association (WVA) created World Veterinary Day in 2000 as an annual celebration of the veterinary profession. The WVA, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) have joined forces to promote this year’s theme of rabies prevention.

Rabies remains one of the most serious viral zoonoses presently encountered worldwide.  Despite being 100% preventable, it is estimated that, worldwide, 55,000 people die each year – approximately one person every 10 minutes. Half are children under the age of 15.

Prevention at the animal source is the key strategy in dealing with rabies, and veterinarians are therefore crucial to its control,” according to the GARC.

The alliance believes that national veterinary services around the world could eradicate rabies in animals and stop virtually all human cases by using just 10% of the financial resources currently used to treat people after a dog bite.

Vets operate in all sectors of society: it is probably the only profession that understands the human-animal dynamic that exists in every community throughout the world.

Boy bringing his puppy to receive rabies vaccination.Recognising the profession’s diversity in a changing world, BVA president Harvey Locke said: “World Veterinary Day provides an ideal opportunity to highlight the work of the veterinary profession around the world in food safety and public health, border controls and quarantine, clinical practice, animal health, animal welfare, environmental protection, research and development and wildlife conservation. 

“I am particularly pleased that rabies control has been chosen as the theme this year and feel proud to be a member of a profession that can play a key role in bringing an end to this devastating but preventable disease.”

BVA president Harvey Locke.2011 marks the 250th anniversary of the veterinary profession and has been declared “World Veterinary Year”. 

Mr Locke said: “To celebrate World Veterinary Year the BVA’s annual Congress will be held under the theme ‘Vets in a changing world’ in London on September 22-24. In anticipation that this year will witness the official declaration that another devastating disease – rinderpest – has been eradicated worldwide, I am delighted that the Wooldridge Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Dr Peter Roeder who led the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme from 2000 to 2007.

“And as a further illustration of the varied roles of the profession, the BVA’s Overseas Group is organising a full day’s programme exploring issues from livestock and global food security to veterinary involvement in disaster relief and management, as well as a session celebrating the 100th BVA overseas travel grant.”

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