Veterinary Science in the 21st Century: Still fit for purpose?
Recognising the contribution of Professor Douglas Blood to Melbourne Veterinary School, the DC Blood Oration invites renowned scholars to present as part of the Faculty’s Dean’s Lecture Series.
This year the speaker was Professor Colin Wilks.
The purpose for founding the first scientifically informed veterinary school in 1761 was clear – to end the devastation caused by Rinderpest virus, also known as cattle plague. This disease ravaged cattle herds across Europe leaving a trail of food insecurity and economic and social disaster in its wake. With no school preparing veterinarians with the knowledge and skills needed to control it, the first veterinary school in Lyons, France was born. In the 21st century, veterinarians operate in an incomparable number of spheres, including basic scientific research, emerging zoonoses, food safety and security, environmental sustainability, wildlife health and conservation, animal welfare, and companion animal medicine. In the intervening years, veterinarians have adapted to meet new challenges while still functioning within the original ‘social contract’ that has granted privileges and imposed responsibilities on the profession.
By examining the present challenges that veterinarians are expected to help solve, Professor Wilks explored whether the profession is still fit for purpose.