Vets to provide support for sustainable livestock farming

A group of veterinary professionals is aiming to provide support for the livestock farming and wider veterinary community to engage with and adopt sustainability practices in the food production sector.

Vet Sustain, which launches today (11 July), aims to create a knowledge sharing culture among animal health professionals and promote vets as “agents of sustainability”.

It plans to help farms meet the rising challenges around profitability, ever-increasing production costs, biodiversity loss, animal welfare, climate change and antimicrobial resistance.

See also: How beef herd is delivering £350/cow net profit with deferred, mob grazing

The not-for-profit organisation consists of seven directors and is working to improve the wellbeing of people, animals and the natural world. 

Sharing knowledge

Vet Sustain founder Laura Higham said it was time to increase the influence of veterinary professionals. 

This will be done through:

  • Awareness campaigns
  • Social media pages to generate discussion and boost visibility
  • Webinars and training courses for vets 
  • Reference materials and curriculums to educate veterinary professionals
  • Regular newsletters, blogs, articles, case studies.

Dr Higham added: “We [as vets] understand the inextricable links between human, animal and environmental wellbeing. But it’s time for our influence and duty to reach beyond the patients under our care, to all animals that are impacted by human activity.” 

British Veterinary Association vice-president Simon Doherty is a director of Vet Sustain. He said vets occupy an “extraordinary niche” for driving sustainability. 

He highlighted carbon footprint reduction  practices, responsible medicine use and supporting regenerative agriculture and aquaculture as steps to take. 

The new Vet Sustain website will be launching in the next few days. 

Vet Sustain objectives

  • Build an online network of 5,000 veterinary professionals by the end of 2020
  • Help get sustainability topics in curriculums of all UK vet schools by 2022
  • Help get sustainability into policy and standards of UK veterinary bodies by 2025
  • Get sustainability policy practices into more than half of UK vet practices by 2025
  • Equip vets with skills and knowledge to support sustainable practice in sectors influenced by vets