VetSalus Activities in Spring 2022
Our Managing Director, David Black is also a Director and current Treasurer of Vet Sustain, as well as being a working vet and Managing Director of Paragon Veterinary Group in Cumbria. So with his various hats he has had a very busy few weeks talking about aspects of veterinary sustainability both in person and virtually.
In early May David chaired a workshop at the SPVS Congress along with colleagues Zoe Halfacree and Ed Bailey entitled “Sustainability in Practice: Practical Top Tips”. In a blog following the event, one of the attendees, Alice Moore said;
“There aren’t many CPD events that I would cheerfully give up my Saturday afternoon for, but Vet Sustain’s workshop at SPVS-VMG Congress last month was certainly worth the sacrifice. Titled ‘Sustainability in Practice: Practical Top Tips’, the session was led by Zoë Halfacree, David Black and Ed Bailey and attended by a range of veterinary professionals from different sectors of the industry.” and concluded;
“I left this session feeling inspired by the amazing work that Vet Sustain and others continue to do, immensely proud of what my practice has already achieved and encouraged by the sense of hopeful optimism amongst the group by the end of our discussions. For me, the real value of these conversations lies within the connections we can make with other like-minded individuals; to share our ideas, to trouble shoot our challenges and to celebrate our successes. Thank you to Zoë, Ed & David for being our enablers.”
David then travelled to Nantes to speak to livestock vets at the SNGTV Congress in a “World Buiatrics'' session. This presentation was very well received with several French delegates pledging to accelerate their own sustainability activities, particularly around the role of vets as leaders and advocates. It was agreed that this was a key area for international collaboration: globally vets need to feel empowered to make a contribution towards improving sustainable food production.
On the 23rd of May, The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) ran a webinar with a wide range of speakers addressing vets and policy makers across Europe and beyond. The webinar was titled “Sustainable food systems: innovation, technology and role of the veterinarian” and was run as a follow up to their Farm to Fork Strategy, the Carbon Removal Framework and of the Sustainable EU Food Systems initiative, and concentrated on how veterinarians are engaging on this journey. FVE are clear that veterinarians are central in advancing the sustainability of the whole agri-food sector as they actively contribute to sustainable food systems throughout the promotion of animal health & welfare, public health and by communicating the real science behind safe food production. You can watch the webinar in full here.
In early June, an overview of how practices and vet-led businesses can engage and embed current best practice was delivered to the XLVets AGM and Summer Meeting in Cheshire. XLVets is a community of independent vet practices who collaborate to share ideas, knowledge and support each other and it was agreed that sustainability was an ideal area for this to happen. The idea that vet professionals can act as individuals, businesses and advocates through their position at the intersection of human-animal-environmental health was well received. The more representative GWP* metric of methane impact on global warming was discussed and although certainly not a reason to downplay the importance of methane from farming, the potential and current opportunities for vets in their day to day work to truly impact on methane output was clear.
David has also pre-recorded a presentation to be given at the ANZCVS Science Week 2022, which he is unfortunately unable to attend in person on the Gold Coast due to the late changes to COVID travel restrictions. The Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (ANZCVS) Science Week is open to all veterinary professionals in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. Whether a veterinarian in practice, in academia, an industry veterinarian or work within government sectors, the Science Week program provides a diverse range of cutting edge scientific content that will keep vets up to date with the latest research in veterinary science. David’s topic “Embedding Sustainability in Veterinary Practice” will also be delivered virtually and live to the audience in Australia.
While speaking, David has been able to detail the resources produced by Vet Sustain and VetSalus together and highlighted the soon to be launched 10-module, online training course for veterinary professionals in livestock practice “A Veterinary Approach to Sustainable Food and Farming". This is an exciting and in depth, evidence based course that will be accredited by LANTRA in the UK. Also due to be launched in the next few months is The Veterinary Carbon Calculator, which is being developed in collaboration with Investors in the Environment (IiE), and supported by BVA, BSAVA, BVNA and SPVS . Tailored for vet-led businesses, the calculator will allow them to assess their carbon impact through the 3 scopes, and provide guidance on practical measures they can take to reduce their carbon footprint. Over time, the calculator will allow veterinary businesses to not only measure and monitor their own impacts, but also benchmark against other similar businesses