WSAVA Turns Focus to Animal Welfare

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association launches projects aimed at improving animal welfare.

WSAVA’s new global veterinary oath, translated into 25 languages, is shown to delegates in Cape Town, South Africa.


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The World Small Animal Veterinary Association is making animal welfare a higher priority with the unveiling of a number of initiatives at the organization’s 39th World Congress.

The campaign, announced this week at the meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, includes a partnership with the World Animal Protection charity, the launch of a fund for animal welfare projects and activities designed to highlight the role of welfare within the veterinary profession.

Also introduced was a voluntary oath that reads: “As a global veterinarian, I will use my knowledge and skills for the benefit of our society through the protection of animal welfare and health, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, and the promotion of One Health. I will practice my profession with dignity in a correct and ethical manner, which includes lifelong learning to improve my professional competence.”

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) represents 92 veterinary organizations from around the world and 145,000 veterinarians.

Shane Ryan, BVSc, MRCVS, the chairman of WSAVA’s Animal Welfare and Wellness Committee, called animal welfare “an integral and inherent part of the everyday practice of veterinary medicine.”

Animal welfare is also a specialist discipline in its own right, and the [committee] strives to provide relevant information to veterinarians on developments in contemporary animal welfare science," Dr. Ryan said.

The initiatives include:

  • A memorandum of understanding with World Animal Protection “under which the organizations will work together to develop an annual, measurable welfare action plan,” WSAVA reported.
  • The extension of WSAVA’s Global Outreach, which places veterinary volunteers with animal welfare organizations in the region where the World Congress is held. The next meeting is in 2015 in Bangkok.
  • An annual travel grant of up to $5,000 to help veterinary professionals gain experience in animal welfare.
  • The Friends of Animal Welfare fund, which will use donations to pay for specific animal welfare projects.
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