Every year, the AVMA promotes World Veterinary Day to the press and public while encouraging U.S. veterinary groups to celebrate the occasion on the last Saturday of April. This year, one country's celebration will receive a $1,000 award.
The World Veterinary Association established World Veterinary Day in 2000. The WVA and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) recently created the World Veterinary Day Award to reward the most successful celebration of the profession by national veterinary associations alone or in cooperation with other veterinary groups.
In 2007, veterinary groups around the globe celebrated World Veterinary Day. Events in India ranged from a children's painting competition to one-day programs that provided free veterinary care. A chapter of the Nigerian VMA arranged a weeklong program to offer free rabies vaccinations for dogs. The British Veterinary Association released "The best of care," a consumer guide to professional health care for pets.
In 2008, World Veterinary Day falls on April 26. The WVA and OIE suggest that celebrations should convey the following messages:
- The veterinary profession, in private and public practice, must grow stronger to protect against biologic disasters.
- Veterinarians must help improve food safety by optimizing available resources in public health and animal health.
- The veterinary profession is essential for improving the health of animals, ranging from companion animals to production animals to wildlife.
- National veterinary associations and national veterinary services should increase communication to facilitate rapid response to emerging diseases.
The deadline for national associations to apply for the World Veterinary Day Award is May 1. Information is available at www.worldvet.org.