Veterinary service missions and good governance

Rev Sci Tech. 2012 Aug;31(2):439-48.


The rationale for the existence of official Veterinary Services (VS) has seldom been under such intensive public scrutiny as over the past two decades when the world has been confronted with outbreaks of major animal diseases that have posed a potential threat not only to human health but also to animal health and national food security. The mere existence of VS is not enough. The mission statement of the VS can no longer be cast in stone but needs to adapt and be amended continually to cope with new demands. The ability to ensure not only acceptance but also sustainability of the delivery of VS as a global public good, thereby demonstrating good governance, is becoming and will remain a challenge in terms of keeping it a non-rivalrous and non-excludable service to a demanding public clientele. Mission statements to improve the health and welfare of animals will, however, remain no more than noble normative statements of intent if further refinement on how this should be done and governed is not encompassed in the strategic plans, vision and goals of the Veterinary Authority. They will also remain but noble statements if cognisance is not taken of the increased sensitivity, nationally and internationally, around animal welfare issues during transport, movement, housing, treatment and slaughter of animals and if this sensitivity is not reflected or addressed in national animal health and veterinary public health legislation. The author describes some of the ways in which currently accepted critical functions of the VS need to change to demonstrate good governance and respond to the challenges of new or amended missions in order to meet the demands of an ever-changing VS environment.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Animal Husbandry / standards
  • Animal Welfare*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild
  • Aquatic Organisms
  • Commerce
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Endangered Species
  • Food Safety
  • Food Supply
  • Humans
  • Livestock
  • Poverty / prevention & control
  • Public Health
  • Veterinary Medicine / organization & administration
  • Veterinary Medicine / standards*
  • Veterinary Medicine / trends