For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser.

Veterinarians: Stewards of Animal and Public Health

Elevating consciousness surrounding animal welfare and cultivating collaborative efforts among various global stakeholders
11:55 PM Apr 26, 2024 IST | Guest Contributor
veterinarians  stewards of animal and public health

Dr Gh Rasool Bhat


Shah Abul Kalam


In times of global turmoil, ranging from pandemics to natural calamities, the spotlight invariably shifts to essential workers – those individuals whose tireless efforts are indispensable for upholding the fabric of society. Amidst these challenges, the imperative to safeguard the welfare of animals emerges not only as a moral obligation but also as a cornerstone for human well-being and the sustainable future of our planet. Acknowledging the profound impact of veterinary professionals in the concept of One Health that is: interconnected domains of human, animal, and environmental health.


World Veterinary Day is annually commemorated on the final Saturday of April and for this year its celebrated on 27 April 2024, This significant occasion serves as a platform to elevate consciousness surrounding animal welfare and to cultivate collaborative efforts among the various global stakeholders.


With each passing year, the World Veterinary Association selects a distinct theme for the event, aimed at shedding light on various facets of the veterinary profession. In 2024, the focus centers on recognizing veterinarians as essential healthcare workers, highlighting their pivotal role in safeguarding the health and welfare of both animals and humans alike.


At cursory glance, the role of veterinarians may seem confined to the care of household pets or domestic livestock. However, their duties encompass a broad spectrum beyond mere animal welfare. Veterinarians play a pivotal role in a myriad of fields, notably they are integral in preventing and controlling the spread of zoonotic diseases – illnesses that can be transmitted between animals and humans. Vast array of diseases like Rabies, Avian Influenza, SARS, Ebola, Brucellosis etc., serve as poignant reminders of the interconnectedness of animal and human health. Veterinarians serve as frontline defenders against these threats, working to diagnose, treat, and prevent such diseases before they escalate into public health crises.


Furthermore, veterinarians are instrumental in ensuring the safety and security of our food supply. Through regular inspections, disease surveillance, and monitoring of animal health and welfare, veterinarians help prevent the spread of food borne illnesses and ensure that the food we consume is safe, hygienic and of high quality.


Their expertise in animal husbandry and nutrition contributes to the sustainable production of food, addressing issues such as antimicrobial resistance and promoting responsible farming practices. In addition to this, veterinarians also contribute to environmental conservation efforts. From wildlife rehabilitation to ecosystem health assessments, veterinarians play a crucial role in protecting biodiversity and preserving delicate ecosystems. By monitoring the health of wildlife populations and intervening, when necessary, veterinarians help mitigate the spread of diseases that could be catastrophic to both animal and human populations.

In times of calamity, whether wrought by nature’s fury or human plight, veterinarians emerge as indispensable pillars of support, often assuming the vanguard in relief efforts. Their pivotal role transcends multifaceted array of responsibilities that intersect with public health and humanitarian emergencies. With unyielding dedication and expertise, they navigate the tumult of disaster zones, administering crucial medical aid to afflicted creatures, thereby mitigating the spread of zoonotic diseases and safeguarding the well-being of both humans and animals alike. Thus, in the crucible of crisis, veterinarians stand as quintessential custodians of life, their presence an irreplaceable beacon of hope amidst the chaos, “underscoring their unequivocal status as essential health workers”.

Veterinarians play a climacteric role in maintaining the health and productivity of livestock, which directly impacts the overall agricultural sector’s output. Healthy animals lead to higher yields, and increases the production, and ultimately contribute to the overall GDP growth by bolstering agricultural and food industries. Additionally, veterinarians’ expertise in disease prevention helps mitigate economic losses due to outbreaks, ensuring stability in the agricultural sector and supporting overall economic growth.

As per the latest statistics, Livestock provides livelihood to two-third of rural community, Providing employment to about 8.8 % of the population in India. Livestock sector of India contributes 4.11% GDP and 25.6% of total Agriculture GDP.

Despite their indispensable contributions, veterinarians face unique challenges and often operate in environments where resources are limited. In many regions, access to veterinary care is scarce, particularly in rural and underserved areas. This disparity highlights the need for increased support and investment in veterinary services, ensuring that all communities have access to essential veterinary care.

In the intricate web of global health and well-being, recognizing veterinarians as essential health workers is not merely a matter of acknowledging their contributions; it is a recognition of the concept of One Health. As we navigate an increasingly complex and interconnected world, the role of veterinarians will only grow in importance. Hence It’s paramount to accord veterinarians the recognition they deserve and honour their invaluable contributions.

SKUAST-Kashmir, esteemed for its commitment to social responsibility, has redefined its vision, mission, and goals in light of the evolving global landscape and the transformative New National Education Policy 2020. The institution now prioritises becoming a premier hub for agricultural education renowned for its ingenuity, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, leadership development, and dedication to social and gender parity. As we commemorate World Veterinary Day 2024, we seize the opportunity to reaffirm our dedication to advancing the veterinary field, striving to enhance global capabilities in preventing, predicting, detecting, and responding to health hazards. Our aim is to elevate the health and well-being of humans, animals, and the ecosystem, all while fostering sustainable development. In this endeavour, we aim to uplift the economic standing of impoverished farmers.

Gh Rasool Bhat is Assistant professor/Jr Scientists at Veterinary Clinical Complex-Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry,SKUAST-K Shuhama Srinagar.


Shah Abul Kalam is an undergraduate

BVSc & Ah intern at FVSc & AH SKUAST-K Shuhama Srinagar.

(The views expressed in the article are the authors’ and not of the organisation they work for or study in)