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Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Page: 1613


Senator BACK (3:30 PM) —by leave—I, and also on behalf of Senator Milne and Senator Ludwig, move:

That the Senate:

(a)   notes that:

(i)   2011 marks the 250th anniversary of veterinary education with the establishment of the first veterinary school in Lyon, France, in 1761, and

(ii)   around the world, 2011 is being designated World Veterinary Year to honour the contribution and achievements of the veterinary profession in the community to animal health and production, public health, animal welfare, food safety and bio-security;

(b)   recognises that:

(i)   in Australia, 2011 marks the 120th anniversary of the first class of graduates from the inaugurated Melbourne Veterinary College,

(ii)   seven schools of veterinary medicine are now established in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia,

(iii)   veterinarians are dedicated to preserving the bond between humans and animals by practising and promoting the highest standards of science-based, ethical animal welfare with all animals, large and small,

(iv)   veterinarians are on the front line in maintaining Australia’s status as being free from exotic diseases that threaten the environment and human and animal health, and that veterinarians provide extensive pro bono services annually through the ethical treatment of unowned animals and wildlife,

(v)   veterinarians are vital to ensuring the high quality of Australia’s commercial herds and flocks and the security of our food  supply,

(vi)   veterinarians provide a valuable public health service through preventative medicine, control of zoonotic disease and scientific research, and

(vii)   significant contributions and achievements have been made by many individual members of the Australian veterinary profession, including: (A)  Nobel Prize winner and Australian of the Year, Dr Peter C Doherty, who achieved major breakthroughs in the field of immunology which were vital in understanding the body’s rejection of incompatible tissues in transplantation and in fighting meningitis viruses, (B)   Professor Mary Barton, a leading veterinary bacteriologist with a distinguished career in government and in veterinary public health, who has a strong research background in bacterial infections of animals and in antibiotic resistance in animal and human health, and

(A)   Nobel Prize winner and Australian of the Year, Dr Peter C Doherty, who achieved major breakthroughs in the field of immunology which were vital in understanding the body’s rejection of incompatible tissues in transplantation and in fighting meningitis viruses, (B)   Professor Mary Barton, a leading veterinary bacteriologist with a distinguished career in government and in veterinary public health, who has a strong research background in bacterial infections of animals and in antibiotic resistance in animal and human health, and

(B)   Professor Mary Barton, a leading veterinary bacteriologist with a distinguished career in government and in veterinary public health, who has a strong research background in bacterial infections of animals and in antibiotic resistance in animal and human health, and

(C)   Dr Reg Pascoe, a renowned equine surgeon and dermatologist, and a leader in his profession for more than 50 years, who, while running a busy practice in Oakey, published 70 research papers and many texts while earning a doctorate, and has also dedicated years to the National Veterinary Examination and the Veterinary Surgeons’ Board of Queensland; and

(c)   further recognises:

(i)   that 2011 is World Veterinary Year,

(ii)   the valuable and diverse roles veterinarians perform in the Australian community, and

(iii)   the veterinary profession as it celebrates the past and continuing contribution by veterinarians.

It is a privilege to move this motion which recognises World Veterinary Year, marking the 250th anniversary of veterinary education in the world with the establishment of the first school in Lyon, France, in 1761. To put it into perspective, that was nine years before Captain Cook discovered the East Coast of Australia and 18 years before European settlement. The first school was established following yet another horrific 18-year epidemic of the disease rinderpest throughout Europe. It was first described in 3000 BC and it was only in October 2010 that the world was finally declared free of the disease.

The motion honours the contribution and achievements of the profession to animal health production and welfare, disease prevention, public health and food safety and biosecurity. I quote the Australian Veterinary Association’s President, Barry Smyth, who I believe is in the gallery this afternoon, who said, ‘The greatest contribution Australian veterinarians have made to the livestock industry and indeed the country is the eradication of three major infectious diseases of cattle, being bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis and pleuropneumonia.’ Dr Smyth said this was achieved by many veterinarians in the field, in abattoirs and laboratories who worked in accordance with excellent and informed planning, devised and directed by veterinarians.

The motion recognises the significant contribution and achievements of three members of our profession whose names appear in the papers. In addition, I pay tribute to some others: Professor Ken Jubb, who received a Medal of the Order of Australia in January this year for his services to veterinary science and pathology; to the memory of Dr Tom Hungerford, whose legacy was the establishment of the Postgraduate Foundation in Veterinary Science; to my colleague Dr Peter Reid, an equine practitioner in Brisbane who was present when the first known hendra outbreak occurred in 1994 and who has been a constant advocate for the development of rapid tools and vaccination for horses; and to the memory of my friend, classmate and colleague Dr Chris Baldock, who tragically died in 2005.

I now turn to the role played by the majority of veterinarians today, and that is in the care of our companion animals. We are a nation of animal lovers and no-one underestimates the value of the bond between humans and pets. I pay tribute to the role that veterinarians play in this relationship, taking seriously the task of preserving the health of animals to support the relationship. The motion speaks of the provision of pro bono services each year in the ethical treatment by veterinarians of unowned animals and wildlife. I wish to record that they join the many thousands of volunteers across Australia who every year help out when natural disasters devastate our communities. The horse industry is another that has been well served by the profession over many, many years. This was most evident with the outbreak of equine influenza in 2007 and its subsequent eradication.

I do thank Senator Ludwig and Senator Milne for joining me in moving this motion. I commend it to the Senate. Deputy President, I thank you for the opportunity to present it.

Question agreed to.