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AVMA wins World Veterinary Day Award 2021 recognizing the veterinary response to the COVID-19 crisis

The World Veterinary Day is celebrated annually on the last Saturday of April to recognize the work of veterinarians around the world and their contributions to improving animal health and welfare

as well as public health. This year, the World Veterinary Association (WVA) and HealthforAnimals recognised the contributions of the veterinary profession to protect animal and human health during the COVID-19 Pandemic. On 29th July 2021, the World Veterinary Association (WVA) and HealthforAnimals presented the World Veterinary Day Award to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to recognise their immediate response to meet the new challenges arising from the emergence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Integral to the AVMA’s response was the development and implementation of an impressive multi-tiered internal and external communications program anchored by a dedicated online COVID-19 Resource Center that was made available to veterinarians around the world in February 2020—three weeks before the WHO’s global pandemic declaration. The AVMA has kept its Resource Center up-to-date throughout the pandemic with critical information for veterinary professionals about keeping themselves, their clients and their patients safe – including scientific summaries, short videos, risk assessment summaries, various online tools, blogs and other practice resources. The WVA President, Dr Patricia Turner said, “Throughout the SARS-CoV-2 global crisis and continuing to the present, the AVMA has demonstrated stellar national and international leadership by supporting veterinary professionals around the world with critical information and resources intended to ensure practice sustainability and continuity, as well as protecting food safety and public health.” “These past 18 months have posed a challenge unlike any we have ever seen - the medical hardships, isolation, economic pressures, strains on everyday goods and more. It’s why I am in awe of how the global veterinary community rose to the occasion to support the pandemic response,” said Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, Executive Director, HealthforAnimals. “In the U.S., the work of the American Veterinary Medical Association and its Members ensured animals and the people around them were better protected throughout this time. They reminded us why veterinarians are pillars of our community and are laudable recipients of the 2021 World Veterinary Day Award. Congratulations on this well-deserved honour.” “I am deeply grateful to the World Veterinary Association and HealthforAnimals for honouring the American Veterinary Medical Association with this prestigious award,” said Dr Douglas Kratt, President of the AVMA. “It’s been more than one hundred years since this country faced a public health challenge like COVID-19. I know I speak for my predecessor, Dr John Howe, who was serving as AVMA’s President when the pandemic began, that I am in awe of the work done by our 97,000 members and their teams, and by the AVMA staff, during a crisis of historic proportions. In the face of personal risk and hardship, the U.S. veterinary community – and our colleagues around the world – rose to this historic challenge and embodied the highest ideals of our profession. Disease knows no borders, and more than 75 percent of emerging human diseases, such as COVID-19, originate in animals. Veterinarians truly are a key part of the first line of defence.” The continuing COVID-19 pandemic changed life as we know it and significantly affected global human and animal populations. And yet, through this challenging time, veterinary medicine has meaningfully and rapidly evolved, demonstrating veterinarians’ abilities to cope, adjust, and adapt; and to continue in their role as leaders of animal health and welfare and public health.

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