Dr Emma Milne, a British vet and long-standing campaigner on animal welfare issues, particularly those relating to the health problems suffered by many brachycephalic animals, is to receive this year’s World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Award for Companion Animal Welfare.
Emma Milne qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 1996 and worked in practice in the UK for 12 years before becoming a clinical nutrition advisor for Hill’s for seven years, during which time she moved to France. She is well-known in the UK following her appearances in a TV series called Vets in Practice and her role as a presenter on documentaries on wildlife. She was one of the first veterinarians to highlight the health issues suffered by many brachycephalic and extreme breeds and launched the online platform Vets Against Brachycephalism in 2017 to encourage vets worldwide to join the global fight against breeding extremely brachycephalic animals. She also campaigns on the responsible use of animal photos in marketing, calling out advertisers which use deformed animals in a ‘cute’ way, to sell their products.
Dr Milne is also an author – her most recent book, ‘Picking a Pedigree: How to choose a healthy puppy or kitten,’ highlighted health problems in pedigree dogs and cats associated with body size and shape, as well as other inherited conditions. Her other writing includes a series of children’s pet care books, The Pet Detective Series, including ‘Is a cat the right pet for you?’ The books highlight the five welfare needs of companion animals and the importance of their mental, as well as physical, wellbeing.
Commenting on the Award to Dr Milne, Dr Cheryl Good, member of the WSAVA’s Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee (AWWC), said: ” Emma Milne exemplifies the integration of animal welfare with veterinary medicine. Her advocacy on the welfare issues associated with selecting for brachycephaly and extreme conformation has had international impacts on countless numbers of animals.
“Her impact on the community is felt globally as she inspires future and current veterinarians and the public with her many speaking engagements and written works. Dr Milne’s authorship of children’s books and national media appearances demonstrate her creativity and determination to reach new audiences and magnify her impact.”
Dr Milne said: “I had no idea I’d even been nominated for this incredible award. I had to read the email three times before I believed what I was seeing. I work alongside people who I feel are absolute giants in animal welfare and ethics so to be awarded this myself is indescribable. I can’t thank those who nominated me enough or get close to expressing verbally just how much it means to me, It is things like this that, on the low days, keep me fired up to continue what has become my life’s work.”
The WSAVA Companion Animal Welfare Award recognizes individual veterinarians who have made a significant contribution to animal welfare and inspired others to play their part in advancing welfare globally. Dr Milne will receive her award during this year’s WSAVA World Congress, which takes place from 27-29 September in Lisbon, Portugal.
The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through its 115 member associations and works to enhance standards of clinical care for companion animals. Its core activities include the development of WSAVA Global Guidelines in key areas of veterinary practice, including pain management, nutrition and vaccination, together with lobbying on important issues affecting companion animal care worldwide.