October 4 was World Animal Day, an annual event that aims to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. As leaders in animal health and welfare, the Australian Veterinarian Association highlighted the key role the veterinary profession plays in the pursuit of this objective.
“Every day vets advance the ideals of World Animal Day through their care of companion animals, livestock and wildlife, as well as through public education, environmental conservation activities and advocating for animals,” AVA head of Veterinary and Public Affairs Dr Cristy Secombe said.
“Veterinarians play a key role in facilitating responsible pet ownership and encouraging the human-animal bond. Understanding the importance of this bond to our own health is crucial to raising the status of animals in our society.”
Extended periods of self-quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to a greater understanding of the mental health benefits that companion animals provide. Research shows that pet ownership is associated with decreased distress, anxiety, loneliness and depression, and people report interactions with their pets as being comforting or relaxing in a way that contributes to their overall wellbeing.
Livestock and wildlife vets have long played an essential role in the maintenance of human health in terms of zoonotic disease prevention, food safety, epidemiology and maintenance of biosecurity.
“Vets worldwide are heavily involved in the identification and control of major zoonotic diseases. This work is more important than ever to prevent and manage disease outbreaks that move from animals to humans like COVID-19,” Dr Secombe said.