World Veterinary Day (WVD) takes place annually on the last Saturday of April and this year vets from around the world join together on April 26 to highlight the role of the veterinary profession in safeguarding and promoting animal welfare.

This year’s theme of Animal Welfare was chosen by the World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to highlight the role of veterinarians in animal welfare in line with OIE standards and the great contribution of the veterinary profession to animals and society around the globe.

In celebrating World Veterinary Day, BVA President Robin Hargreaves commented:

“On World Veterinary Day 2014 it is fitting to recognise the part played by the veterinary profession in leading the way in animal welfare advocacy and calling for effective animal welfare legislation to be developed and enforced around the world.

“The skills, knowledge and compassion of the veterinary team place us in a unique position in society and we should never be afraid to speak out on animal welfare issues.

“Closer to home animal welfare has been high on the agenda at BVA in recent months with much focus on issues from non-stun slaughter to the humaneness of the badger cull pilots, from the illegal trade in puppies to the keeping of exotic animals as pets.

Highlighting the work of the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Robin Hargreaves continued:

“We are also looking forward to the AWF discussion forum in London on 12 May where we’ll be discussing topics ranging from animal transport legislation to the problem of animal hoarding. Now firmly entrenched in the veterinary calendar this annual event organised by the BVA’s own charity has raised the profile of many serious animal welfare issues and led to both new research and the development of BVA, UK and EU policies.

“In addition the AWF has published a range of informative and accessible guides for pet owners. Welcomed by veterinary surgeries across the UK, the advice helps to educate owners, safeguard pets and support vets in their daily work.”