Posted April 18, 2012
The World Equine Veterinary Association is dedicated to providing veterinary continuing education "to the far reaches of the world," especially areas with little access to it. WEVA facilitates VCE opportunities in many disciplines and enhances dialogue among equine veterinarians globally. This constitutes part of the WEVA mission of improving the health and welfare of horses.
||Dr. Jean-Marie Denoix of France presented live ultrasound demonstrations to standing-room-only audiences at the 2009 WEVA Congress in Brazil (here) and the 2011 congress in India. (Courtesy of Dr. Jean-Marie Denoix)
Its goals are to conduct a biennial congress in association with a host country and to consider hosting intermediate meetings in the interim, when requested by a member association. Organizers make meetings as affordable as possible and provide simultaneous translation in various languages.
WEVA was created in 1985 as a division of the World Veterinary Association. The first congress was held as part of the 23rd World Veterinary Congress in Canada in 1987. Subsequent congresses were held in Germany, Brazil, Switzerland, Japan, Italy twice, France, Argentina, Morocco, Russia, and Hyderabad, India (see report, facing page). In 1999, WEVA became independent, no longer under the WVA umbrella.
Intermediate meetings, when first initiated, were held between 2001 and 2003 in Moscow; Kiev, Ukraine; San Salvador, El Salvador; and Beijing. Additional intermediate meetings, some in conjunction with the host country's national meeting, have been held in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Mexico, Hungary, Spain, South Africa, India, Japan, and Thailand. When possible, Executive Committee members serve as speakers, with WEVA providing airfare.
Dr. Gary L. Norwood is a past president of the WEVA and the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and a current member of the WEVA President's Advisory Committee. Dr. Norwood said, "Welfare issues, especially of working equids worldwide, are something that WEVA is very much involved with, mostly through CE and raising awareness. This first started to gain momentum in 2008 at the Russian WEVA Congress when Professor Derek Knottenbelt from the U.K. gave a stimulating paper on working equids. This was followed by his participation in the formation of the AAEP Equitarian Initiative with Dr. Jay Merriam of the AAEP, and welfare presentations at the 2009 WEVA Congress in Brazil."
At the Brazil congress, the AAEP Foundation sponsored a key talk by Dr. Tom Lenz on unwanted horses to shine light on that issue.
Dr. Norwood said, "WEVA believes the unwanted horse is a worldwide problem—or at least is becoming one—and there needs to be an elevation in the awareness of this issue among our international colleagues."
Then, Dr. Knottenbelt organized a two-day equine welfare session at the 2011 Hyderabad congress, with welfare organizations worldwide participating.
WEVA currently has 36 member associations, most representing national equine veterinary associations, and six individual members. From the United States, the AAEP is a member, as are the Florida Association of Equine Practitioners and Texas Equine Veterinary Association. Dr. Norwood said WEVA runs on a shoestring budget. Instead of paying dues, member associations collectively pay a large proportion of the speaker sponsorships. The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine joined several years ago, for example, and sponsored a speaker for an intermediate meeting and for the 2011 congress. The AAEP Foundation contributed $7,500 to support WEVA's educational activities in each of 2010 and 2011.
Pfizer and previously Fort Dodge have also provided a financial source for WEVA's operating expenses.
In 2009, WEVA began inviting veterinary pharmaceutical companies, equipment manufacturers, and practices to help sponsor speakers. Two Lexington, Ky. practices—Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute—are among the new sponsors.
A new initiative is Young WEVA, a Facebook page designed to attract equine practitioners and veterinary students interested in social media. It is accessible from the WEVA website, http://wevaonline.org, under the "Young WEVA" link.
The Horse magazine is a media partner with WEVA, and members of WEVA member associations receive free access to electronic CE on www.thehorse.com.
WEVA plans to become more involved in assisting the equine industries in China and South Korea, which have been undergoing rapid expansion.