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A Veterinary Approach to Sustainable Food and Farming - Participant Feedback Christine Utting

Alice Geddes, Executive Officer VetSalus

A Veterinary Approach to Sustainable Food and Farming, the inaugural course from VetSalus in partnership with Vet Sustain, was officially launched in July 2022. The course has been designed to empower veterinary professionals working with farm animals to unlock their unique toolbox of skills and knowledge to help producers attain multiple sustainability objectives, for the benefit of animals under our care, rural communities, wildlife and the wider environment.

With our first cohort approaching the end of the course, and cohort 2 in progress, we now have over 50 participants actively engaged with the course content. VetSalus spoke with some current participants to understand how they found their learning experience, and what impact this has had on their approach to sustainability conversations with their clients.

Christine Utting, practising vet at VetSouth in New Zealand, has been busy working through the course content. Here she tells of her experience.

Christine first heard about the course through an email circulated at work. We asked Christine what her learning objectives for taking the course were:

“Very interested in the area of sustainability, both in the veterinary and agricultural fields, keen to learn what I can do to help support my farming clients towards more sustainable practices.”

The course is broken up into ten modules covering a range of topics from ‘The Role of Veterinary Professionals in Sustainability’, ‘Farming Systems of the World’ to ‘Driving Change’. The modules take participants on a journey through the topics, understanding the issues we face and learning how to approach them. Alongside the course we invite participants to engage in discussion forums, join a cohort Whatsapp group and attend live meetings with their fellow participants. We asked Christine about the overall course experience and how she found it:

“Excellent - like the module system, the 'deep dives' and variety of course material, quizzes etc. Have enjoyed the forum/WhatsApp chats and the Zoom meetings too.”

There are no specific prerequisites for taking the course which is designed to fit around a busy work and life schedule. The course is specifically designed for veterinarians and paraprofessionals working with production animals with examples and case studies from around the world. We asked Christine is there was anything she would do differently now that she has attended the course:

“Still working through it but keen to encourage some changes in the workplace as well as be able to start suggesting some changes to farming clients.”

We asked Christine whether she felt the course had improved her understanding of and ability to practice sustainably:

“Yes, definitely. And the wider scope and impact of climate change, agriculture etc. on the whole world.”

Thank you to Christine for taking the time to discuss her course experience. To find out more about the course itself, please visit our website. You can also check out the BCVA Cattle Cast (episode 29), where Kat Hart talks in more detail with course facilitators David Black and Lisa Morgans, along with participant Tom Warboys and VetSalus Executive Officer, Megan Williamson.

Our next cohort will shortly be opening for registration, in order to receive the latest updates on the course please join our waiting list.