MEDIA RELEASE

World-first program helps Aussie vets care for your pets and take action on climate change at the same time

Vets for Climate Action is today (May 8) launching a program to help veterinary practices take action on climate change, lower their power bills, reduce waste and water use and more.

 

The Climate Care Program has been tested at 20 sites with impressive results, and is now available to all veterinary practices around Australia. It is the first program in the world designed specifically for the veterinary profession to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste.

Melbourne vet Dr Jeremy Watson has saved more than $6000 per year in power bills since switching off gas and installing solar panels at his Brimbank veterinary clinic.

With guidance from the Climate Care Program, Dr Watson also replaced lightbulbs and upgraded electric appliances. He's been able to keep the clinic towels fluffy for the kittens and puppies while reducing his carbon footprint.

“For nine months of the year we have surplus solar power after heating, hot water and drying bedding, so we are able to charge our electric vehicles for $5 for 400 kilometres of travel!" Dr Watson explained.

Vets for Climate Action Chair and owner of the Carbon Neutral Springfield Veterinary Hospital Dr Jeannet Kessels said the program has already attracted international attention.

“I’ve recently returned from presenting at the World Veterinary Association conference in South Africa where we attracted phenomenal interest in what we’re doing here in Australia. Our program is unique because it’s been designed by vets and nurses to allow busy practices to establish and maintain sustainability, while advocating powerfully for broader structural and policy change, right up the supply chain.

“Vets care deeply about climate change because animal health and welfare depends on a healthy climate and they’re keen to do their bit.

“Of course we still need to speak up for animals and encourage governments to be much more active in cutting emissions.”

 

More about the Climate Care Program

Some of the incredible results from the Climate Care pilot include:

  • Springfield Veterinary Hospital in Queensland reduced waste by 37% 
  • Brimbank Veterinary Clinic in Melbourne halved water use 
  • Brimbank Veterinary Clinic reduced power bills by more than $6000 per year

Climate Care is a digital toolkit and educational course developed by vets, vet nurses, educators and researchers. It is an online, 6-module program that offers step-by-step support to promote sustainable veterinary care by reducing energy use, waste and water; and increase profitability while reducing overall emissions and creating a better world for the animals we love.

The Climate Care Program is self-paced, making it easy to implement, even in a busy veterinary practice. 

Jeremy Watson also discovered an unexpected bonus of becoming a carbon-neutral vet clinic – he’s been able to recruit staff during a shortage of vets and veterinary nurses.

“The last three hires, a vet graduate and two nurses, all commented on the environmental credentials on the website. It seems like 18-22 year olds are looking for something,” Dr Watson said.

 

Vets available for interview this week

Melbourne - Jeremy Watson - Climate Care Program co-creator 

Alexandra, NE Victoria - Elise Anderson - Vets for Climate Action regional programs lead

Northern NSW - Gundi Rhoades - Practice Owner, Gowrie Veterinary Clinic

Springfield Brisbane Qld - Jeannet Kessels - Vets for Climate Action Chair

Cairns, North Queensland - Richard Page, Principal Vet, Emergency Vets 24/7 

Climate Science expert  

Prof Mark Howden, Director, ANU Institute for Climate, Disaster and Energy Solutions

 

VISION OPPORTUNITY:

What: Dogs, kittens and veterinarians launching the Climate Care program

When: May 8 from 11 am - 1pm (media are welcome to attend with vets available for interviews from 1030 )

Where: Greater Springfield Veterinary Practice , 5 Commercial Drive Springfield, Qld 4300

Jeremy's dog Scotty lends a helping paw to charge an electric vehicle.
Photo credit: Jeremy Watson, Brimbank Veterinary Clinic