Celebrating World Vet Day


World Veterinary Day, on April 27, was created to highlight the lifesaving work performed by vets around the world.

Here’s a quick snapshot of four dedicated vets working across our four program areas: animals in communities, animals in disasters, animals in farming, and animals in the wild.

Each year, a different theme is chosen for World Veterinary Day, with this year’s theme being “Value of Vaccination”.

Whether it’s keeping your own pet’s vaccinations up to date, or the ongoing large scale work we carry out to protect dogs and humans against rabies, vaccination is crucial to ensuring communities remain healthy and safe.

Here’s a quick snapshot of four dedicated vets working across our four program areas: animals in communities, animals in disasters, animals in farming, and animals in the wild.

Animals in communities

Dr. Emily Mudoga is one of our Better lives for dogs Campaign Managers, working out of our Africa office in Nairobi. Her passion for animals and empathy for people makes her vital in our work to end the inhumane culling of dogs in Africa. Emily has over 18 years veterinary and program management experience.

Q: How are dogs treated in Africa?

Emily: “In Africa, dogs can carry rabies, so they can be seen as a threat to human life and also to farm animals. There is panic because it is a real problem and kills people. Many families have been touched by rabies.”

Q: Is the ‘Better lives for dogs’ campaign helping to change this?

“Yes. Vaccinating dogs against rabies and educating our people are the only ways to prevent this terrible disease. Right now we are working in the Makueni district in Kenya to make it safer for both people and dogs. We want both to be able to live in harmony.”

Animals in disasters

Dr. Juan Carlos Murillo is one of our Disaster Response Vets, who deploys at a moment’s notice from his hub in Central America. He travels to areas impacted by hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and tornadoes, providing veterinary care to thousands of animals affected by disasters. Juan Carlos is our longest-serving Veterinary Manager.

Q: Why do you believe it is important to help animals?

Juan Carlos: “Helping animals makes you a better person, it helps develop kindness, care and love for other living creatures, including human beings.”

Q: Can you tell us about your day to day responsibilities?

“In the field we provide veterinary care, access to food and water and training in animal handling. In some cases, we build shelters to prevent animal fatalities in future disasters."

Animals in farming

Dr. Kate Blaszak is our Global Farm Animals Advisor. With her background as a vet, Kate’s technical expertise makes her vital in our work to improve the lives of farm animals around the world. She has more than 15 years of professional animal welfare advocacy and technical experience.

Q: What inspired you to join World Animal Protection?

Kate: “I've been working with World Animal Protection for more than 10 years. I first joined the organization for the opportunity to work in places where animal welfare was the lowest of priorities, and yet of greatest need. Also, working with so many likeminded people, who remain committed to animal welfare, continues to be inspiring and exciting.”

Q: How does the work you do help move the world to protect animals?

“The authoritative technical support and scientific backing I provide helps us move people around the world to take action for animals; while involving all stakeholders in the farm animal industry. It makes our campaigns realistic, impactful, and encourages support.” 

Animals in the wild

Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, our Senior Wildlife and Veterinary Advisor, travels to remote parts of the globe to assess the welfare of wild animals and advise on the care of animals in captivity. After visiting thousands of elephants in captive conditions across Asia, his verdict is clear: cruel wildlife entertainment must be phased out.

Q: What’s the problem?

Jan: “There’s more than one problem. What I’ve found from visiting more than 200 venues is that these elephants are suffering – because of cruel training, as well as severely inadequate living conditions. Their diets are poor, and they’re usually chained when they’re not performing, denying them any opportunity to socialize naturally with other elephants, which is a key part of their life in the wild.”

Q: What’s the solution?

“We need to work on a sustainable solution to phasing out the industry, which means firstly shifting consumer demand from cruel entertainment activities towards more humane alternatives. We also need to transition conventional elephant camps to elephant-friendly venues. Lastly, we need to ensure that people who are dependent on the elephants’ income are part of that journey towards an elephant-friendly future.”

Pictured: Dr Jan examining an elephant at a high welfare sanctuary.

Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, World Animal Protection's Senior Wildlife and Veterinary Advisor, pictured checking over one of the elephants at BLES sanctuary in Thailand.

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