Veterinary profession has always been flexible, evolving over the centuries from horse surgeons to livestock vets and to companion animal practitioners, food hygienists and public health consultants, adjusting to the needs of society. Today, it is as important as ever to keep an open mind for new areas where veterinary expertise is needed.
In view of the recent changes in society there are considerable changes in veterinary roles, even in so-called traditional practice. Ethics and environmental and economic issues have greatly impacted veterinary practice, while economic pressures have had a negative impact on areas such as food safety. But there are challenges with this new role, including a broad understanding of food production paradigms, water and arable land scarcity, global warming and political strife.
The purpose of large animal veterinary education when it first began was to eradicate diseases in order to protect the food supply and animal health in general. Veterinarians addressed the health care needs of individual animals and the herd in the late 1800s, and this was the focus until the 1980s.
However, as the agricultural landscape changed, veterinarians’ possibilities to play a larger role in food animal production grew. However, a significant outbreak of cow plague in the mid-1860s brought veterinary expertise and government closer together. The inability to manage the disease with individual animal veterinary treatments revealed a lack of awareness of disease control and the organisation required for eradication plans.
However, several notable veterinarians recognised an opportunity to re-align the profession with a broader public health agenda by emphasising veterinarians’ qualifications to comment on animal health issues. As a result, veterinary leaders attempted to broaden their variety of job skills and ‘affirm the scientific and social worthiness of their profession.’ Agriculturalists and powerful members of parliament aided them, having estimated the economic burden of cattle illness and lobbied for government intervention.
“This country’s agriculture has altered tremendously.” Farms have consolidated and their numbers have reduced as the emphasis on low-cost food has expanded and the value of individual animals has decreased. The paradigm shifts to the larger features of producing animals humanely, at the lowest possible cost, and in the most environmentally sensitive way as the drive for cheaper food mounts.” Because milk production is directly connected to feed quality, a gain in efficiency may result in the requirement for fewer cows. Value is frequently measured in terms of the number of animals a person owns; however, the thinking must be adjusted to identify wealth in terms of productive potential rather than numbers.
Hunger kills more people than HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria combined, according to the World Health Organisation. Those with increased affluence in developing countries are turning to animal proteins to boost the nutritious value of their diets. In many of these countries, endemic infectious illnesses of livestock complicate matters, reducing animal health and production. Before capital is invested in systems, these must be controlled. Market information can assist in identifying and developing emerging professional areas that should be handled with confidence and proactivity. Ecosystem health is a new area of work for veterinarians that is becoming more important as a result of the influence that the growing human population is having on the environment that sustains them.
While the above-mentioned One Health “reactive” approach to disease outbreaks receives a lot of attention from scientists, the public, and the government, veterinarians’ primary contribution to One Health is in their day-to-day operations. A working group should look at animal welfare, One Health, environmental protection, aquaculture, bees/insects, and disease prevention. There are various areas where things may be done better. But, most importantly, we must adapt to society’s constantly shifting demands and expectations.
Despite the fact that we cannot anticipate the future, it is clear that a veterinary profession that is more diverse, versatile, balanced, and forward-thinking will be better prepared to adapt to whatever tomorrow brings. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — our global “blueprint” for achieving a brighter and more sustainable future for everybody by 2030 — were created in response to these difficulties. According to the UN, the world is falling behind on the SDGs, and existing efforts are “insufficient.” If we are to reach these goals in the next decade, we must drastically boost and speed our efforts.
One Health Approach: Our world must evaluate the role of animals in order to tackle the huge challenges ahead and achieve the SDGs. Outbreaks of cattle illness can diminish meat, milk, and egg production, resulting in scarcity of these nutrient-dense commodities. Meanwhile, as we saw with Covid-19, diseases in wildlife can spread to susceptible human and domestic animal populations. Animals and the environment are clearly interwoven with our future. “One Health” is shared by all three — people, animals, and the environment. What affects one will have an impact on others.
It’s for this reason that enhancing animal health can help accelerate progress toward key SDGs by 2030. The SDGs provide a shared vision to which all stakeholders and sectors may contribute. Animals’ Wellness Members think that One Health collaboration and partnerships can more effectively address complex issues such as health and hunger. To fulfill the SDGs by 2030, more One Health partnerships with veterinary linkups that understand the benefits of healthy animals to humans and the environment are required.