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Brussels, 24 January 2011

World Vet Year 2011: Celebrating a significant contribution to the European citizens' daily lives

The European Union has come a long way in its efforts to better protect Animal Health, ensuring along the way Food Safety. The role of the veterinary profession, which celebrates this year its 250th anniversary, has been pivotal in making food in the EU safe. Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, John Dalli, is speaking today in the Agricultural Council about the ongoing dioxin contamination in Germany, the recent African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in Russia and the Commission's Communication on bee-health – just three recent issues that underline the importance of the veterinary profession in the daily lives of the European citizen. Acknowledging this contribution, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) declared 2011 World Veterinary Year. The Year's opening ceremony is being held in the afternoon today in Versailles, France. The Commission actively participates in the event and, to raise awareness about the role of veterinarians, organises a photo competition, which was launched on Friday.

Commissioner Dalli said: "The recent dioxin, ASF and bee-health issues serve only as a snapshot of the sort of risks that may emerge at any given moment. They also remind us of the importance of vets in managing these issues. There are around 200,000 vets working across Europe. That's 200,000 vets playing a diverse, often unseen role, with many safeguarding the food chain, from farm to fork, for over 500 million people. And, as the world is becoming increasingly interconnected, with people and animals moving in ever greater volume and with ever greater frequency, the importance of the role the vets play in our daily lives grows even further."

World Vet Year 2011

The World Veterinary Year is a year-long celebration of the founding of the veterinary profession in Lyon, 250 years ago.

The European Commission and the OIE have been working together to promote the Year's goals through their "vets in your daily life" campaign. Its objective is to raise awareness about the diverse, and often unseen role, vets play in society, be it through protecting animal welfare, carrying out controls at borders, or looking after our pets.

The World Vet Year is to be inaugurated in the afternoon today in Versailles France. Commissioner Dalli has been invited to speak at the event, along with a number or representatives of international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and OIE. Given the increasing interdependence of Public and Animal Health, co-operation at international level to ensure Animal Health and, by extension, Food Safety, is of paramount importance.

Photo Competition

The European Commission will organise a series of events to celebrate the World Vet Year. The photo competition, launched already on Friday, 21 January, is the first and among the most important events planned.

The competition's theme, as with the joint EC/OIE activities for the World Vet Year, is "vets in your daily life." The Commission invites people –professionals and non-professionals alike– to send in pictures showing the diverse role of veterinarians in society. The competition is open until 31 March 2011. Prizes for the winning photos include photographic equipment and a trip to Brussels and Paris in May to attend the prize awarding ceremony.

Entries can be made online at


Claude Bourgelat is considered to be the father of the veterinary profession. The son of a distinguished citizen of Lyon, Bourgelat was made Director of the Lyon Academy of Horsemanship, in 1740 when he was 28 years old. Back in those times, the Academy was a school where young noblement learnt the equestrian arts and swordsmanship. Mathematics, music and "elegant manners" completed the curriculum.

In 1744, Bourgelat published his first work: the "Nouveau Newcastle ou Nouveau traité de Cavalerie (A new Treatise on Horsemanship)."  This publication, which put forward a new approach to horse craft, quickly brought him recognition. Some even went so far as to call him, even at that time, the "First Equerry of Europe."

The Veterinary profession has indeed come a long way since then.

For more information, please visit:

To view the competition's video clip visit:

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