NZ cows

Environmental issues, particularly those linked to agriculture, are high on the current political agenda in New Zealand. As a result of this, matters which should be subjected to a logical, science based debate have become sensitive and emotional discussions, which frequently bridge that fundamental of New Zealand society: the rural/city divide.

However there can be little debate that the veterinary profession, whether internationally or within New Zealand, sits at the intersection of human, animal and environmental health. As trusted advisors, veterinarians are often best placed to address many of the issues faced by their farming clients.

VetSalus, in partnership with Vet Sustain, are proud to launch ‘An Introduction to Sustainability for New Zealand Farm Veterinary Practice’. This document is based on papers which originated in the United Kingdom, produced by the Vet Sustain Food & Farming Working Group. VetSalus, a working member of this group, has adapted the document, to provide a more New Zealand perspective. The papers are intended to provide background information and examples of areas where clinical veterinarians can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and more sustainable farming practices. It seeks to highlight steps already being undertaken by vets in practice, to assist their clients towards a more sustainable future, for all.

Lewis Griffiths, chair of VetSalus says:

“Veterinarians have been working to improve farm efficiency and productivity for many years but perhaps have been slow to realise that this everyday on farm presence, is also critical to reducing farm carbon footprints.”

Ruth Clemets, chair of the Vet Sustain Food and Farming working group says:

With over 70 billion production animals globally and rising, vets can play an important role in feeding the human population but critically to do so in a way which promotes good animal welfare and protects and invigorates the environment. The development of increasingly sustainable farming practices and systems will play an essential role in tackling the climate and ecological crisis, and this introductory document contributes to this essential and urgent discussion.”

VetSalus and Vet Sustain are currently completing an in-depth course for veterinarians and their teams on sustainability and related issues. This will be launched early in 2022. As trusted farm advisors, much veterinary dialogue is looking at the performance of businesses today, whilst also ensuring their longer term success and viability. This document demonstrates that, even when the environmental impact of decisions are not always at the forefront, a progressive animal health strategy can have reciprocal benefits for animal health and welfare, the environment and ultimately the financial success of the farm business.




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