State of the Environment Report a chance to protect animals and humans from climate change and pollution

Vets for Climate Action (VfCA) notes the independent State of the Environment Report 2021, released by Minister Tanya Plibersek today. The comprehensive findings reflect what many Australian veterinarians are seeing with the effects of climate change.

Veterinarians understand that a healthy environment is essential for the future of people and the animals we need and treasure.

Dr Helen Scott-Orr, former Chief Veterinary Officer of NSW and former Inspector General of Biosecurity said: ‘’The deterioration of native habitats, whether old growth forests, oceans and reefs or inland waterways, together with increasing extinction rates has grave consequences.

“Healthy and diverse ecosystems help regulate the climate, clean our water supplies, purify our air, maintain our soil, and provide us with food and sources of natural medicines.

“For example, climate change is responsible for driving the disease Japanese Encephalitis further south in Australia this year, affecting pigs, horses and people.”.

“The State of the Environment Report says Australia has one of the highest rates of species decline among developed countries and notes elsewhere that 1-3 billion animals were killed or displaced by the 2019-2020 bushfires. While this is alarming, there is also an opportunity to take action this decade to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions,” Dr Scott-Orr said.

Vets for Climate Action urges Minister Plibersek to value the unique and diverse fauna and flora of Australia through the following actions:

  1. To respond in full to all recommendations in the review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 chaired by Graeme Samuel.
  2. To include a ‘greenhouse gas trigger’ for all development decisions under the EPBC Act.
  3. To develop recovery plans for all threatened species and habitats, including the intention to implement and fund them all.
  4. To establish an independent Environment Protection Agency to enforce national conservation laws and collect data on the health of wildlife.

Dr Helen Scott-Orr says ‘veterinarians are focused on the health, welfare and biosecurity of all animals including wildlife and offer our support to Minister Plibersek in her critical work to protect and preserve the Australian environment’


Vets for climate action has the following veterinarians available for interview:

Dr Helen Scott-Orr is a former NSW Chief Veterinary Officer and Australian Government Inspector-General of Biosecurity.

Location: Sydney


Dr Angela Frimberger is deputy chair of Vets for Climate Action and a veterinary oncologist who founded Climate Vets, a global network of animal health professionals concerned about climate change.

Location: Port Macquarie, NSW


Dr Garnett Hall is WA president of the Australian Veterinary Association and is a veterinary surgeon and practice owner with experience in emergency management and disaster relief, including bushfires in 2020.

Location: Fremantle, WA


Dr Belinda Dare is a small animal vet and practice owner who was affected by flooding in South-East Queensland in March.

Location: Ipswich, Qld


Veterinarians for Climate Action represents concerned veterinarians, veterinary nurses, practices and industry partners across Australia who want emissions reductions this decade.