Veterinary opinion in animal welfare investigations
Statements of veterinary opinion are a vital part of most animal welfare investigations and legal briefs. It is important that these statements address the needs of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.
As a veterinarian, you are recognised as having a specialised role in animal welfare investigations and are expected to provide a professional and objective opinion based on all the relevant information at your disposal.
The following is a list of what you should include in a statement.
Details of veterinarian
You should provide:
- a name, address and phone number
- qualifications, including where and when they were achieved
- current employment details
- number of years' experience (experience with the particular species is optional).
Details of veterinary opinion
The statement should include:
- what date the animal was examined. For multiple examinations or when the animal was under veterinary care, this could state '... between the date of dd/mm/yy and dd/mm/yy'
- a full description of the animal, including age (estimated from dentition if not known), breed, sex, microchip number (if available) and distinguishing markings
- who presented the animal and why
- true and accurate record of findings - summary and detailed report, including observations
- details of tests performed, treatments provided and responses or results
- an estimate of the duration of illness and prognosis for cure
- objective assessments of pain and suffering (i.e. animal's demeanour, response to manipulation and handling, etc.)
- any underlying conditions for which there is no reasonable cure (e.g. cancer, old age)
- a final summary of professional opinion stating cause of the animal's condition (conclusion)
- recommended actions and treatment options
- your signature and date the statement was made.
- Read the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.