The president of the León Veterinary Association, Luciano Díez, takes stock in this interview with Agronews Castilla y León of the International Congress on Animal Health and Welfare and analyzes the present and future challenges of the veterinary profession with sustainability as the key. Despite being experts in disease transmission, he lacks greater consideration for veterinarians in the Spanish health system.
What sensations leaves the I International Congress of Animal Health and Welfare?
The taste in the mouth has been very good, it has been widely accepted, new ideas have been proposed, apart from delving into what we have already been working on, the issue of animal welfare has been greatly promoted at a general level and, in complete cases, species by species. And we have launched a new concept that some people are already doing and others, without knowing it, are also doing it, which is a sustainable Vet system: Seen as we currently have the environment with emissions, waste, plastic pollutants and others, the idea is to promote environmental sustainability from any point of the profession, both in clinics and in the field.
How can it be done?
For example, since there is usually a tendency to make associated purchases to reduce costs in order to better adjust prices, insisting on suppliers disposal of useless packaging and containers, promote glass over plastic, use sustainable means of transporting this material, medicines or sick animals, through electric or hybrid vehicles. In short, little by little, restructure and cchanging our way of working to try to generate less waste and eliminating those that do not work.
Regarding animal welfare, where does the future lie?
The cases that appear in the news, taking into account that there are millions and millions of animals, are specific cases. Animal welfare is becoming more widespread, legislating and also controlling by veterinarians and the producers themselves, who are seeing that it is cheaper and they produce more and better if they treat the animals well. Animal welfare is linked to production and animal health. Stress weakens the immune system a lot and animals get sicker, so investment in welfare is to prevent health and animal health and also improve production.
Is it a very big change?
A little more is being done each time, but we must draw attention to pets, which are not our children, they are not people, that is, the needs of dogs, cats and other pets are those of that animal species and not they can be made to live as if they were our children. There are aberrations like trying to make, for example, a vegetarian animal that is carnivorous. Well-being is related to the fact that they can live as closely as possible with their normal physiological characteristics of the animal, it will not adapt it to being a person.
The term One Health, a single health, is one of the claims of the veterinary profession and more since the coronavirus pandemic, are you considered more in human health?
In public health you do not see the word veterinary anywhere and, if it is about preventing pandemics and taking measures to avoid public health problems, other professions also know and everyone must collaborate, but we have been doing it forever. Already in the 19th century there were “food inspectors” in slaughterhouses who, at the time, doubted whether they were veterinarians or doctors, and veterinarians were chosen, we have dedicated ourselves to that, that is to say, on the one hand, to avoid the passage of diseases by having healthy animals and, on the other, that food is handled well so that it does not transmit diseases either. That of public health and at the same time the concept of animal welfare that has appeared later. The rancher or producer who has the animals in good conditions will produce healthier, will pollute the environment less and will favor the development of animals and people cohabiting without any health problem between them.
Therefore, One Health is a very old concept
It had not been coined until now, but it is what has been done: take care of both the environment and animals, as people because we are a whole and if one of the parts fails, it will drag the other two because they are transmitted all diseases, pollution of the environment, etc.