PARIS – The “Vets in your daily life” campaign, which celebrates the 250th anniversary of the creation of the veterinary profession, has been launched by the European Commission (EC) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). A series of events will unfold during the year, declared World Veterinary Year for the occasion, intend to increase knowledge about the multifaceted work of veterinarians.

“Everybody knows veterinarians as animal doctors, but few know they truly play a pivotal role in the prevention and control of infectious animal diseases, including those transmissible to humans, animal welfare, food production or food safety,” said Dr. Bernard Vallat, OIE director general.

“World Veterinary Year 2011 is a very special opportunity to celebrate the daily contribution of veterinarians to the civil society, as a global public good,” added Dr. Bernard Van Goethem, acting deputy director general for the food chain at the European Commission’s Health and Consumers Directorate General. "World Veterinary Year is an opportunity to underline the importance the European Commission attaches to the veterinary profession, and the contribution it makes to society: ensuring not just the confidence of consumers across Europe, but all over the world. Vets have been at the forefront of the response to animal-health and food crises in Europe over the past 20 years, and it is only right that we acknowledge the key role that they play in protecting the food chain both today, and for future generations"

The OIE and EC developed six TV spots – available in 23 languages - that describe the variety of the day-to-day work of veterinarians, from scientific research to crisis management, food safety or care for animals. They will be broadcasted in different online media including EUTube and Youtube.

World Veterinary Year, which is intended to inspire future generations of veterinarians, will be promoted at the two biggest European animals and food-fair-trades: the Internationale Grüne Woche in Berlin, Germany and the Salon International de l’Agriculture in Paris, France, respectively held on Jan. 21-30 and on Feb. 19-27. Visitors will find out about the different veterinary careers through drawing contests, quizzes and nonstop video broadcasting.

A worldwide web-based photographic competition highlighting the relation between animals and veterinarians will launch at the end of January. The year-long communication campaign will close at the 30th World Veterinary Congress in Cape Town, South-Africa on Oct. 14.