Why the veterinary profession?
We care deeply about the extensive negative impacts climate change has on animal welfare. Vets are critical thought leaders in this space who absolutely need to be engaged in achieving better climate change outcomes.
– We’re empathetic and we care.
– We have scientific knowledge and understanding.
– We communicate every day and do it well.
– We’re trusted and we connect with our community.
Yes, we want to help the veterinary profession meet its responsibility to reduce its carbon emissions. However we are also in a fantastic position to advocate within the community and use our scientific knowledge to help solve problems associated with transitioning to a low carbon economy.
How can I be involved?
We’d love all Australians to join us and become involved in Veterinarians for Climate Action!
Like to do more? We rely on the support of our community and active volunteers. To make a difference:
– Join with other VfCA supporters in your region and across Australia. With their assistance, become active in your community: volunteer with VfCA, meet your MP, write letters to local papers and learn to have powerful conversations.
– Share resources and information about climate smart agriculture and climate literacy through social media and forwarding e-newsletters.
– Volunteer to speak at an event.
– Join campaigns online. Make a one-off donation, become a regular giver or leave a bequest to VfCA in your will.
Email us for more!
Who are the VfCA board and staff?
As per our constitution, our board members are elected by our members. You can see our current Board members and staff here.
Are your board members paid?
Our board positions are voluntary roles, with no board members paid for their assistance. Our staff are paid salaries at market rates.
How are you funded and who are your members?
We are funded entirely through our membership fees and donations, including from our business members. We have four membership categories:
1. Veterinarian (and student veterinarian) members. These members have voting rights within our constitution, influencing strategic direction and electing the board.
2. Associate members. Nurses, Receptionists, Zoo staff, Business managers etc working in the veterinary profession and passionate about our cause. This group has the same membership rights as Veterinarians.
3. Business Membership category for all veterinary clinics and hospitals. For the purpose of maintaining our independence, business members do not carry voting rights.
4. Community members. We welcome all concerned about the impact of climate change on the animals they love to join VfCA. These members are incredibly valuable although do not carry voting rights.
In addition to the above we accept monies from philanthropic grants, we occassionally run crowdfunding campaigns and we seek corporate partners for our hospital sustainability program.
How is VfCA structured?
VfCA is a public company, limited by guarantee. We have an active board and a small but agile staff. We registered as a charity under the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) and as such are subject to the same reporting requirements as any charity of our size. Learn more about the ACNC and regulation of Australian charities here.
Is VfCA aligned with a political party?
Absolutely not! As a registered charity, Veterinarians for Climate Action is strictly non-partisan, noting that all sides of politics share culpability for the current debacle of climate and energy policy. We speak willingly with all sides of politics and look to advance action on climate change regardless of political colours.
Is a low carbon future compatible with companion animal ownership?
Absolutely it is! Pets will always play a vital role in our communities – they provide massive benefits to human mental health and physical health. They work as Assistance dogs, help our emergency services and teach us empathy and kindness. We love our pets and always will!
Studies from the USA have shown that on a protein basis, ~19% of the total environmental impact of food production can be attributed to cat and dog food. This is a simplified calculation because a large portion of pet food is made from animal products which humans are unwilling to consume. If the environmental impact is instead broken down by economic value (not just protein value) then the footprint is significantly lower than 19%.
While we love our pets, one of VfCA’s key goals is to work with the veterinary profession and its suppliers to recognise and reduce the carbon footprint of pet ownership.
Isn’t it hypocritical to assist the animal agriculture industry given its impact on the environment?
Yes and no.
Veterinarians are responsible for the welfare of Livestock, Pets and Wildlife.
Research shows animal agriculture accounts for 13% of Australia’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, and while this is a significant figure, it is clearly not the sole contributor to climate change. In addition, much of the land currently used for sheep and cattle is not suitable for crop production, and agricultural animals frequently consume hardier cellulose fibres which are not part of the crop destined for human consumption. Meat is a significant part of the diet of many Australians, and helps meet the protein, macro- and micro-nutrient needs of the world’s population.
Ultimately we don’t believe it is VfCA’s place to campaign for veganism or influence the public consumption of animal based foods. However we are passionate about working with farmers to assist them towards the decarbonisation of their industry. As an example, we are ideally placed to understand and advocate for diet supplements which result in lower methane emissions from cattle (link). Regenerative agriculture is key to our future, through its power to improve resilience of the land, leading to more sustainable and effective use of natural resources.
We believe there is scope for this industry to reduce its carbon footprint, and we look forward to working with all parties in achieving this.
How many veterinarians does VfCA represent?
Jeepers, cut us some slack, we only launched June 2020!