PARIS – As the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues and government entities across the globe designate businesses and organizations as either “essential” or “non-essential,” veterinarians are promoting the crucial role they play in effectively responding to the pandemic. A March 18 joint statement from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Veterinary Association (WVA) highlighted the necessity of businesses related to the veterinary profession to remain open ensuring worldwide public health. The goal of the statement includes calling attention to specific activities veterinarians are responsible for to prevent disease, manage emergencies and ensure the safety of food.

“Veterinarians are an integral part of the global health community,” the OIE and WVA said. “Beyond the activities linked to the health and welfare of animals, they have a key role in disease prevention and management, including those transmissible to humans, and to ensure food safety for the populations.”

In the wake of COVID-19 the role of regional and national veterinarian services includes overseeing the production of healthy animals and their byproducts that are destined for the food supply chain, the groups said.

Like other essential businesses and service providers, and especially during a pandemic, veterinarians must protect the health of themselves, clients and co-workers by implementing strict biosecurity practices as a part of preventing the spread of COVID-19.