Back in 1863, Professor John Gamgee of the Veterinary College of Edinburgh, invited veterinarians from Europe to attend a meeting which later became known as the first International Veterinary Congress. The meeting was about epizootic diseases and a discussion of possible preventive measures. This congress became a World Veterinary Congress. In 1906, at the 8th World Veterinary Congress, the members formed the Permanent Committee whose aim was to serve as an organizational link between congresses.
Then, at the 15th Congress in Stockholm, the Permanent Committee and the members saw the need for an international organization and constitution. Hence, on the next Congress in 1959, held in Madrid, the World Veterinary Association was established. The mission of the World Veterinary Association is to focus on animal health and welfare, as well as on the environment and public health. Nowadays, the World Veterinary Association collaborated with other prominent organization, such as OIE, WHO, and FAO.
The World Veterinary Association has members from more than seventy nations and features national veterinary associations from all over the world. A new constitution was welcomed in 1997 and the organization was restructured. Each veterinary association which is a member of the World Veterinary Association pays membership fees.
In 2001, the World Veterinary Association established that there will be a World Veterinary Day celebrated on the last Saturday of April. The aim of the World Veterinary Day is to promote the veterinary profession and work on improvement of the animal and human welfare, the environment, food safety, and practices of animal transport and quarantine. Each year, there is a different theme of this day. For instance, the first theme of the World Veterinary Association was “Rabies” in an aim to raise public awareness about vaccinating and spaying dogs as well as preventing rabies.
The World Veterinary Association together with the World Organization for Animal Health decided that there should be a World Veterinary Day Award. This practice started in 2008 and its goal is to reward the best contribution to the veterinary profession. The Kenya Veterinary Association was the first to receive this award.
Then, in 2011, which was the World Veterinary Year, the founding of the first veterinary school was celebrated.
There have been different themes throughout the years to celebrate the World Veterinary Day, such as Rabies, Antimicrobial Resistance, the Diversity of the veterinary profession, and the One Health Concept. What most people do during this day is finding ways to appreciate veterinarians. Moreover, pet owners also consider this day to be a holiday and decide to spend it with their pets.
Nowadays, it’s really popular to share what you do on the World Veterinary Day. Hence, wait for the next one in 2019 and share the moments with your pet on your social media under the hashtags #WorldVeterinaryDay and #iloveveterinary. Moreover, you can use the hashtag to see what other people do on this day.