VetSalus is a new business initiative involving a growing group of international veterinarians. The founders have recognised that there is no single “go to” business which can reliably source and place expert veterinary consultants in the areas of animal production and sustainable farming operations. VetSalus has a clear focus: “the production of wholesome food from healthy animals.”
The “One Health” concept is at the core of this new initiative. Veterinarians contracted to VetSalus are experts in all aspects of animal health but will particularly focus on improving animal welfare, reducing antimicrobial usage and increasing the efficiency of animal production (thus improving sustainability and reducing environmental impact.) VetSalus consultants are recognised as experts in a number of aspects of sustainable animal production but in addition, they are all experienced clinicians who can provide clinical expertise alongside up-to-date knowledge.
The veterinary profession has not always engaged with the whole food chain and it has been recognised that there is a need for vets to be more involved with sustainability strategies and get more involved with the needs and perceptions of citizens and consumers. The consumption of meat and milk globally is predicted to double by 2050 as the GDP of developing countries increases and more citizens become middle class. However, the skills and experience of producers and their vets is often not yet appropriate to this increasing production. Set this alongside the growing trend towards veganism and the more widespread adoption of a flexitarian approach, especially in western diets, evidence of deep rooted social concerns based on growing awareness of climate change become apparent. There are constant calls to reduce the consumption of meat and dairy and not all of these are based on good science. VetSalus contends that changes in dietary habits alone will not achieve major impact on greenhouse gas emissions; veterinarians need to be central to the production of wholesome food from animals, ensuring animal welfare standards are improved and reducing the use of antibiotics and the production of greenhouse gases. VetSalus therefore recognises that although radical changes in milk and meat consumption are expected, there can be no doubt that food production from animals is a massive international industry that will continue to benefit from the highest efficiencies and animal wellbeing that is possible.
VetSalus is well placed to be a channel through which the most recent research and technological developments flow into farm production systems. It is particularly interested in providing consultancy in the areas of animal welfare, antimicrobial usage and sustainable animal production systems, whether this be in developing strategies or troubleshooting when data suggests interventions are required. Furthermore, the company recognises that the training and education of farmers and farm managers forms a cornerstone of initiating change on farm and all VetSalus consultants are experienced educators and communicators. In addition, they are also providing an ongoing mentoring and support platform for these trainees to ensure best practice is embedded. VetSalus consultants are independent and have to meet strict criteria before being appointed.
VetSalus consultants will facilitate change on-farm in these important areas by:
- providing approved training schemes to farmers and veterinarians on a variety of topics
- delivering independent animal welfare schemes based on more than monitoring simple metrics and benchmarks
- delivering consultancy on animal production systems and management
- managing other projects, including R&D activities and strategy development
VetSalus is also very keen to develop a leadership role within the profession. As veterinarians change their level of involvement and knowledge of food animal production systems, VetSalus aims to lead and influence this change. The VetSalus website already provides a member’s only discussion forum where topical matters can be discussed and ideas developed.
While a primary focus of the business is the reduction of antimicrobial usage, VetSalus recognises the necessity to apply leading edge technology including the most up to date developments in vaccines, nutrition and management techniques to animal production systems. VetSalus is well placed to understand the needs of producers, to undertake multi-continent field trials and to support new product launches; our advocacy and trusted role with producers is key.
VetSalus is a new business initiative, governed by a board of experienced directors and is administered from an office in Carlisle, United Kingdom. The business has been established for nearly 12 months and is growing steadily as it extends its presence internationally; the founders are all independent veterinary businesses. The company has already had significant discussions with international food companies, foreign aid agencies and animal health companies. Over the coming months VetSalus will emerge as a significant business, channeling veterinary skills and expertise into a number of important new projects.