Letter to the Editor: Why vets should care about climate change

Dear sir;

It occurred to me recently that talking about climate change is a lot like talking with a client about their pet’s cancer… “Come in, please have a seat. I’m afraid I have some bad news. I know this is upsetting, but we have some options to help and they’re not as bad as you may think…”

The problem
We’re trained in interpreting the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and the overwhelming weight of evidence shows that climate change is already occurring as predicted and will continue to worsen without timely action. This is certainly compelling – but what makes it a veterinary issue?

Veterinarians are charged with the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, and the promotion of public health. Climate change threatens animal health, welfare and public health, and risks domestic and wild animal suffering.

Wildlife exposed to flood or bushfire, or whose habitat is changing excessively (climate change doesn’t cause floods or bushfires; but it increases the frequency and severity of both) are at risk of suffering. Heatwaves stress koalas and platypus, and individuals cannot extend their ranges sufficiently to adjust. Hot weather also reduces the nutritional quality of eucalyptus leaves, and when koalas travel for better conditions they become vulnerable to predators and trauma. Domestic pets and production animals also suffer in heatwaves, floods and bushfires: over 1,000,000 animals are estimated to have died in the Black Saturday fires. Continue reading Letter to the Editor: Why vets should care about climate change

Letter to the Editor: Increasing graduate production in the UK (AND Australia)

The topic of veterinary numbers has created much discussion recently in Australia along with the United Kingdom and United States. The standard gauge of supply and demand is price or wages. Increasing numbers of veterinarians also lead to increasing numbers of veterinary clinics and house call businesses which causes declines in business incomes. Other professions such . . . → Read More: Letter to the Editor: Increasing graduate production in the UK (AND Australia)

Letter to the editor

Editor’s note: We normally wouldn’t run correspondence that refers to other publications, but this topic is one that several readers have raised. The perception of veterinary pricing in the wider community obviously requires action!

Dear Luke

A recent article was published in the July issue of Choice magazine with the heading “Premium pets – does Fido really need his teeth cleaned?”
The five-page article also had subheadings such as “Is your vet selling you more than you need for your best friend?”, “Price check”, “Going corporate” and, interestingly, “Sheepdog shakedown”.
I urge you to download the article [www.choice.com.au/vetcosts]. My reply to Choice was approved by the AVA and the Australian Veterinary Dental Association and addresses many of the points raised by the article.

I feel this article demonstrates that veterinarians are not adequately communicating to their clients the need for services they perform.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Bloom
Lane Cove, NSW Continue reading Letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: hunting in national parks

Dear Sir,

I wrote the email below about a month ago in response to your article in the Veterinarian, thinking, ever so stupidly that it might just go away …. and so never sent it on!

As you can see by these links my worst fears are coming to light…

Dear Sir,

I could not believe that anyone who calls themselves a veterinarian could support the hunting of animals in any form or shape. Hunting is a sport where the intention is to kill. Before their eventual death animals affected by hunting endure varying and unpredictable levels of fear, pain and suffering, no matter how careful, accurate or proficient the hunter. This is not my opinion – it is a fact.

This is a considerably different issue if we were talking about professional killers – however, even then the opportunities for welfare issues are still enormous, as the kangaroo industry has demonstrated for years.

As far as I can see there can be no situation where hunting by amateurs anywhere, will not result in fear, pain and suffering in the animals that are targeted, whether they be noxious pests, feral menaces or accidental victims of a trigger happy hunter “having a blast of a weekend”.  The Parks personnel would agree – that is why they are striking and rallying against such stupid legislation.

Whilst I know there are some hunters out there who really do appreciate wildlife and are passionate about removing feral animals from natural environments (as am I) in general the hoi polloi who own guns and want to go hunting are not that responsible. Remember this is the same group of people lobbying to have 12-year-old children running around our parks with bows and arrows and hunting knives.

Clearly the President of the AVA’s Conservation Group is merely playing politics. It’s nice to be seen as the “voice of reason” and it makes you appear to be sound and thoughtful. I have been a veterinarian for over 27 years, and have also looked after thousands of wildlife in that period. I have seen the pain and suffering that mankind inflicts on wildlife (both native and introduced) just through carrying out their normal activities (e.g. driving along the road in cars and trucks fitted with penis-enhancing bull bars, tearing down the bush for housing, shooting at wildlife to “protect” their crops, netting platypus in fish traps, destroying fragile environments for coal, gold, and whatever other selfish object of their inane desire may be. I have attended a number of licensed “kills” designed to reduce the feral and the native population in various areas of the state and I can attest that those supposed hunters with years of experience that attended were some of the worst marksman that I have ever witnessed; needless to say their intended victims where shot about as inhumanely as one could imagine.

In this light I have thought long and hard and can see no benefit from allowing people to fulfil their sick urge to kill, and dress it up as being for the “good of the community”. Why not just join the armed forces and go overseas? Continue reading Letter to the Editor: hunting in national parks

Re: Dr Coghlan’s article on considering the exposure of cruelty (The Veterinarian, June 2011)

Dear Editor,

Export of live animals for slaughter is a result of one motive – there is money to be made.

In the article, the first response that “Australia has an obligation to animals to continue the trade to countries with mediocre welfare records” beggars belief.

It is painfully obvious that the Meat and Livestock Authority and Livecorp have . . . → Read More: Re: Dr Coghlan’s article on considering the exposure of cruelty (The Veterinarian, June 2011)