The Year Ahead
For many 2020 was a year best forgotten. At VetSalus is was a steady year; as Covid spread rapidly and alarmingly around the world we resigned ourselves into a period of retrospection and relative stasis. The later part of the year saw a rejuvenation and reconnection with our shareholders, with whom we have since defined a set of goals for the coming year. In some ways, the VetSalus journey through 2020 and into 2021 has been mirrored by the rest of the world! The beginning of 2021 is looking (cautiously) more optimistic than the year just passed. There have also been significant global changes through January, with the approval of a growing range COVID 19 vaccines allowing some hope for control of the global pandemic.
Continued Development of the VetSalus Brand
Developing the VetSalus brand is a key goal for us this coming year: not only does this mean extending our global business connections, but equally engaging with our registered consultants and the excellent work that they do. VetSalus was formed to become the “go-to'' global network of veterinary consultants, working in the various areas of “One Health”. This is a considerable challenge; our work will include spreading the message about the work we are already doing and profiling the capabilities of our various consultants, both of which are fundamental to the success of our business. We will continue to issue a series of articles and opinion pieces as well as engaging on Twitter and other social media channels. We will also be initiating a program of direct communication with our international consultant group.
Our New Zealand members have been involved with a national dairy health and welfare programme since 2013. As founders of the scheme, as part of XLVets in NZ, it was run as a pilot for a number of years before it was made available to veterinary businesses and dairy farmers across both islands. The scheme collects on-farm health and welfare metrics that are benchmarked on a regional and national scale, covering the key areas as required by milk processors. Having completed a proof of concept in the UK with a small number of seasonal calving herds we are now looking to expand the idea with an enlarged data set (of seasonally calving herds). Details of the project are still under development but it is hoped that the ability to make meaningful comparisons between UK and NZ farms will provide some very useful and interesting results, particularly when the data set is expanded into non seasonal herds. Once this phase of the trial is completed, WelFarm will be looking to engage with other countries to become a genuinely international, independent animal welfare benchmarking scheme.
Vet Sustain Partnership Projects
Our formal partnership with Vet Sustain was formed in 2020 with our key focus to support the Food and Farming Working Group and the work they undertake. The primary goal of the group is to develop and deliver a suite of products tailored to the veterinary community to successfully drive effective change towards more sustainable food production practices, by appealing to the motivation(s) of both veterinarians and farmers.
There are a number of current projects under way that we aim to adapt and deliver to our international audience. Firstly the production of an introductory signposting document detailing on-farm practices that lead to a more sustainable system. Resources are being pooled amongst a small focus group of interested farm practitioners with a variety of interest and experiences. We hope this will lead to an increased awareness amongst veterinarians and their farming clients of sustainable practices, which will ultimately improve animal welfare and reduce environmental impact, while enhancing productivity and profitability.
The VetSalus group has been involved with a number of key international research pieces looking at AMU. With a keen interest in this area, the team will be scoping future projects of international interest. Across UK and NZ shareholders we have a plethora of experience in data capture, handling and display that we are keen to investigate further to explore possible opportunities.
We are conscious that there are currently a number of existing tools being applied to gathering AMU data- we don’t intend to re-invent a wheel. But we do continue to see value in our critical role as veterinarians in AM use, and will continue to scope how we are best to leverage that.
Development of new Investment Groups
VetSalus currently consists of UK and NZ regional investment groups (RIGs). With consultants enrolled from a much wider umbrella the intention of VetSalus has always been to provide the opportunity for more countries to get involved in our work by forming their own RIG. RIGs can consist of any number of veterinary businesses in a single country and will ultimately provide input and direction on our key projects. VetSalus is currently working with a team in Australia to develop our international community through the formation of an Australian RIG. Registrations of interest have been expressed from a number of other countries, if you would like to know more about how your country and business can get involved please don’t hesitate to get in touch.