Linking the health and welfare of
animals, people and the environment

About Vetwork UK

Vetwork UK began as an informal networking association of veterinarians and animal welfare scientists in October 1996, and became a registered charity in Scotland in 2008.

The aims of Vetwork UK are:

To provide technical and project support to livestock and related livelihoods projects in low-income countries, including development and emergency interventions.  We work with local and international NGOs, government, research institutes, and bilateral and multilateral agencies.

Collate and disseminate experiences in primary animal health and welfare service delivery in the context of veterinary service reform, and livestock related initiatives. Vetwork UK has particular experience in community-based services, participatory approaches and methods, indigenous knowledge systems, policy and legislative change, livestock trade and disaster risk reduction.

Develop existing interests in animal welfare and social aspects of animal ownership in the UK and overseas, and explore and highlight the role that animals play in people’s lives.

Activities

Overseas, Vetwork UK has provided technical support ranging from best-practice field implementation and impact assessment, through to policy reform for community-based animal health services.

Since 2009 Vetwork UK has been coordinating the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) which has companion status to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards for Disaster Response (SPHERE). The aim of LEGS is to improve the livelihoods impact and quality of livestock related projects in humanitarian situations through a set of international standards and guidelines for the assessment, design, implementation and evaluation of livestock interventions. Vetwork is also a member of the LEGS Steering Group.

In the UK Vetwork produced a short film with Walking Pictures, Sleeping Ruff, on the relationship between homeless people and their dogs. We also initiated a project to look at what people think of animals and ways of supporting their interests - Craigmillar Wildlife Information Site.  We’ve also developed training materials, contributed photographs and exhibitions for development education initiatives in the UK and overseas.

Approach

Vetwork UK does not implement projects overseas. Instead we work to encourage best practice in the design and assessment of community-based animal health services and related livestock projects, including appropriate links to the private sector and regulatory bodies. Our work involves technical support to a range of partners, from NGOs to international agencies and through LEGS, coordination of a global programme. We draw on the experience of our associates who have worked in the field long-term and understand policy in low-income countries.

Our aim is to keep our running costs to a minimum. We run a low-cost ‘virtual’ administration with support from a part time administrator, and this is based on email communication between our directors and associates.