The stressful lives – and deaths – of veterinarians

When working his dream job as a vet, 27 year old Australian, Dr Flynn Hargreaves, ended his life. His best friend has developed the Flynn’s Walk foundation in his honour.

‘An Australian vet takes their own life every 12 weeks. …

‘In Australia, vets are four times more likely to die by suicide than the general population and, two times more likely than other medical professionals, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) reports.’

…’a vet takes their own life every 12 weeks [in Australia].’

‘Emotional stress, low pay, unrealistic expectations from clients, euthanising animals and long hours are all known contributors to poor mental health within the field.’

What is it like for pound and shelter vets and allied staff?

Now, imagine the additional stressors to vets, nurses and other staff who work in shelters and pounds, where it’s just expected that they’ll kill an endless stream of healthy and treatable animals, day in and day out. Animals who have been failed by us. Animals who will pay the ultimate price for our failures.

This high level of killing is because our animal management practices aren’t based on science or evidence, but on ‘compliance’ with ‘regulations’; regulations that also aren’t based on science or evidence.

You can help change this

The Australian Pet Welfare Foundation (APWF) is working to end the killing of healthy and treatable animals in Australia. This will go some way to reducing the psychological damage and suicide risk to vets and other staff who work with companion animals.

The APWF has done the research. They know how we can end the killing. They even know by what year we can end the killing – IF we implement evidence-based methods instead of the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ methods.

They just need support to get those changes done.

But what would we know?

We have been heavy involved with companion animal rescue since 2012. Since that time, the need for animals to be rescued from pounds and shelters hasn’t abated. The killing hasn’t subsided. Volunteer-run rescue groups still carry an unsustainable emotional and financial load.

We know that it’s physically and impossible for us to rescue our way out of the current situation. And that’s why we must change how we manage companion animals.

Please consider a regular donation to the Australian Pet Welfare Foundation

If you wish to:

  • reduce the risk of harm to vets and allied staff
  • save the lives of large numbers of companion animals
  • not have to rescue or foster them all yourself
  • reduce the number of stray cats
  • save councils money

we believe a monthly donation to the APWF may well be one of the best investments you could make. You will save many more lives than you ever could through rescue.

And, please, be kind to your vets and vet staff.


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