Wells remembered

Part-time veterinarian Jenny Wells, 46, who was found dead at a property at Jingili late last month, was farewelled at an impromptu memorial at Rapid Creek, Darwin, 3 June.

Northern Territory police are yet to confirm the cause of the popular vet’s death, or those of her two children, whose bodies were found at the same property.

Wells graduated from veterinary science at the University of Melbourne in 1992. Continue reading Wells remembered

A letter from Zimbabwe


IMG_1419Veterinarian James Thompson recounts his recent African adventure


I am not sure what was more distressing on arrival in Zimbabwe – the broken reversing alarm on the luxury bus squawking every 3 seconds the entire way from Victoria Falls to Hwange, or the two hours of Christian soft rock. Still, the prayer for our safe travel as we departed was a nice touch, and must have worked, as we arrived at Hwange National Park safe and well and right on time.

It was great to be back in Zimbabwe – warts and all. The aftermath of the shambolic eviction of commercial farmers in the early 2000s saw the economy go into free fall, bringing empty supermarkets, a fuel drought, and Cuban style rationing. Zimbabwe plunged into nonsensical Alice in Wonderland hyperinflation, resulting in notes as high as 100 Trillion Dollars. Zim unhappily claimed the unwanted title of the fastest deteriorating non war economy in the world. Eventually forced to give up completely, in 2009 the laughing stock Zimbabwean dollar was abolished, replaced by the US dollar. In one stroke, inflation was beaten, and amazingly, things were now actually looking up. The discovery of a massive diamond deposit in the Eastern Highlands, immediately grabbed by the dictatorial Mugabe regime as a personal cash box, together with a stuttering recovery in tourism and massive investment from China, had finally seen Zimbabwe’s economy turn the corner.

Out in the bush, it is another story, far from the worries of politics. Even in Victoria Falls, a cold beer by the palm clad banks of the majestic Zambezi River, with waterbirds circling and diving, and the burble of hippos in the background is enough to relax and reinvigorate a tired traveller. Continue reading A letter from Zimbabwe

Wilson completes solo Antarctic crossing

Veterinarian Geoff Wilson has become the first Australian to complete a solo, unsupported Antarctic crossing.

The Gold Coast veterinarian has been kiting, trekking and skiing across Antarctica since November 13, 2013 – with his pink ‘boobsled’ in tow – to raise breast awareness and funds for the McGrath Foundation.

His 53-day, 3,428.53km kilometre journey ended as the McGrath Foundation was preparing to celebrate Jane McGrath Day at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

“I wasn’t expecting to finish my journey so quickly, but after a couple of weeks of horrendous conditions the last few days were perfect. I was travelling up to 200 kilometres daily, the longest stretches I’d been able to accomplish on the crossing,” WIlson said today from an ice shelf at Hercules Inlet, while awaiting an airlift to Union Glacier and then home via Chile.

“As I covered the final few kilometres I was aware it was early morning in Sydney and thousands of people would be donning pink for day three of the Sydney Test. I remember thinking it was quite serendipitous that the Pink Polar Expedition was ending as Jane McGrath Day was starting.

“After 53 days on the ice I was totally spent. I rang my wife Sarah and some close friends to let them know I was safe then bunkered down in my tent and crashed – sleeping for 12 hours to wake up to the great news that the Aussies had scored a 5-nil ‘pinkwash’ of the Ashes series!”

“My family has been behind me every step of the way and every step I’ve taken is one step closer to home and to them,” he said.

Geoff on the ice 3Wilson, 43, averaged one-and-a-half marathons of distance per day for more than seven weeks. He is the first Australian, and just the third person in history to complete a solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica.

He also set a new record for the fastest solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica, beating the 17-year record of Norwegian Børge Ousland by 11 days. Wilson is the first Australian to approach the South Pole ‘the long way’ from Novo Station on the South African side of the Antarctic coast.

“Australia has a proud and rich history of Polar exploration so it’s just a tremendous feeling to achieve this record for Australia and set a new mark for the others to chase,” Wilson said.

Wilson has lost 18kg during his journey.

“My body’s a little battered and so is the pink ‘boobsled’, but it slid into the history books yesterday, which is great because it is the symbol of what this journey has been all about,” he said. Continue reading Wilson completes solo Antarctic crossing

Vet set to cross Antarctica with ‘boob-sled’

Geoff on the ice.Greencross Robina vet Geoff Wilson will swap the latex gloves for three inch-thick gauntlets when he sets off on a gruelling 3300 kilometre trek across Antarctica next month.

Geoff is attempting to become the first Australian to cross the Antarctic continent solo and unassisted – a journey which he plans to complete dragging a giant pink “boob sled” with the aim of encouraging women to be “breast aware”, and with the hope of raising $1 million for the McGrath Foundation.

The idea for the mission, dubbed the Pink Polar Expedition, came about when Wilson’s long-time friend, Kate Carlyle was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time at just 34 years old.

“I have known Katie for 15 years, since I started looking after her Jack Russell cross Pugs – and now that the Pink Polar Expedition has come about, I joke that I’ve been looking after her jugs for a very long time,” Wilson said. Continue reading Vet set to cross Antarctica with ‘boob-sled’

Mass depopulation of laying hens in whole barns with liquid carbon dioxide: evaluation of welfare impact

Appropriate emergency disaster preparedness is a key priority for agricultural agencies to allow effective response to serious avian disease outbreaks. There is a need to develop rapid, humane, and safe depopulation techniques for poultry that are widely applicable across a range of farm settings. Whole barn depopulation with carbon dioxide (CO(2)) has been investigated as a . . . → Read More: Mass depopulation of laying hens in whole barns with liquid carbon dioxide: evaluation of welfare impact