World Veterinary Day: Know History and Objectives

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jan 27, 2022, 8:32

World Veterinary Day is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of April annually across the globe to raise awareness about animal health and welfare. Commenced by the World Veterinary Association (WVA), the main motto behind the celebration is "to provide global leadership for the veterinary profession and promote animal health and welfare and public health, through advocacy, education, and partnership."

Why is World Veterinary Day Celebrated?

World Veterinary Day was started to uphold animals' health, welfare, and rights. The celebration aims to promote the veterinary profession and its contribution towards not only animal health but also medical science in general. The World Veterinary Association believes in the interdependence of human beings and animals for co-existing in this world, and this special day is a celebration of that. 

History of World Veterinary Day

Although the World Veterinary Day celebration started in 2000, its history dates back to the nineteenth century, with the first International Veterinary Congress meeting in Hamburg (Germany) in 1863. The agenda of the Professor John Gamgee-led meeting was epizootic diseases, the measures to combat them, and chalking rules for ethical cattle trade in Europe. This meeting was later recognized as the World Veterinary Congress, which eventually paved the road for the World Veterinary Association.

In the 8th World Veterinary Congress, a "Permanent Committee" was created for the smooth organization and functioning of the congresses. Later in the 15th World Veterinary Congress held in Stockholm, the Permanent Committee and the other members sensed the need for a separate international constitution. Thus in 1959, in Madrid, Spain, the World Veterinary Association was born.

The WVA has worked with 70 nations and national veterinary associations in its six decades of operations. World Veterinary Day was first celebrated by WVA in April 2000 and continues to be celebrated every year across the globe. 

World Veterinary Day Celebrations Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Sensing the requirements of animals during COVID-19, the WVA has been actively working and collaborating with global organizations like WHO, OIE, and FAO, to improve the environment and increase food safety for animals, especially strays and those under foster care. It has also provided more impetus for better animal transport and quarantine guidelines. The theme for 2021 World Veterinary Day was "The Veterinarian Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic."

How is World Veterinary Day Celebrated?

The World Veterinary Association has kept the tradition of the World Veterinary Congress alive by hosting annual meetings and seminars on World Veterinary Day. The speakers and participants discuss newer findings in the area of veterinary sciences that would ultimately help them preserve the world for a healthy co-existence of animals and human beings.

Since 2008, the WVA, along with the Global Animals Medicines Association, have been awarding recognized WVA member(s) working relentlessly for the welfare of animals, following the themes and guidelines laid down by the Association.

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FAQs about World Veterinary Day

  • When is World Veterinary Day celebrated?

World Veterinary Day is celebrated annually on the last Saturday of April.

  • Why is World Veterinary Day celebrated?

World Veterinary Day is celebrated to recognize the work of veterinary professionals across the globe for championing the health and welfare of animals.

  • When was the World Veterinary Association created?

The World Veterinary Association was created in 1959 in the Madrid (Spain) convention of the World Veterinary Congress.