Melbourne Vets Dr Elaine Ong and Dr Chris Barton are on a mission to create a more compassionate China by helping millions of stray cats and dogs through their Vets For Change campaign with ACTAsia.
Vets For Change is a compassionate program designed to sustainably tackle stray animal welfare in China.
The program is operated by UK charity ACTAsia and headed by Melbourne Vets Dr Elaine Ong, Dr Chris Barton and Vet Nurses Robyn Ireland and Ann Letch.
The aim is ambitious but clear – to train up a critical mass of vets and vet nurses and have them compassionately treat and de-sex stray animals throughout China.
Through this modern vet training and education-based development, Vets For Change will:
i) directly tackle the over-population of stray animals
ii) directly influence the attitude of the Chinese people to stray animals.
The long term goal is for China to do away with inhumane culling of strays and improve, for the better, Chinese attitudes to animal welfare.
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To read in depth about Dr Elaine Ong and Dr Chris Barton’s work with ACTAsia, please read on below.
Dr. Elaine Ong and Dr. Chris Barton are highly experienced and respected veterinary surgeons with their own successful clinics in Melbourne – both clinics are ASAVA accredited hospitals of excellence, two of only 14 vet clinics in Victoria to achieve this accreditation. Every Accredited Veterinary Hospital of Excellence is regularly inspected by an independent expert appointed by the ASAVA who scrutinises the hospital’s facilities, standards and the staff’s continuing education. Radiographic technique, quality and interpretations are reviewed by specialist radiologists. Overall, each hospital must be able to prove to the ASAVA that they maintain exemplary best practice veterinary medicine and surgery.
Elaine has been the Principal surgeon and owner of the Box Hill Veterinary Clinic since 1995 and is the Principal veterinary surgeon for Guide Dogs Victoria, where she volunteers much of her expertise. Elaine works tirelessly to promote better standards of animal welfare in parts of Asia and volunteers for many organizations. Her animal welfare projects include being trainer and volunteer for the Bali Animal Welfare Association and Member of the Victorian Governments Emergency Animal Welfare Committee. Elaine is also the founding member of the Australian Veterinary Association Emergency Taskforce (following the Black Saturday bushfires) and volunteer veterinarian and darter for Wildlife in Victoria.
Elaine was awarded the Belle Reid Award by the University of Melbourne, an award bestowed to the top 100 women veterinarians in the world.
Chris was raised on a sheep and cattle property in regional NSW, after completing an Agricultural Science Degree, he then worked in New Guinea before moving to Queensland and gaining his Veterinary Science Degree with Honours. Chris then set up his own vet clinic in Melbourne, with his special interests focusing on imaging and orthopedic surgery.
Chris is also passionate about animal welfare and volunteers his time for the Bali Street Dog Team, and working on the ground post bushfires in Victoria and post tsunami in Sri Lanka.
Elaine and Chris have volunteered their time and expertise helping animals in Bali, Sri Lanka, China and wildlife in areas of Victoria affected by bushfires. They have travelled to China anually since 2009, to ensure their high standards of care and veterinarian expertise are imparted to vets in China.
In 2016 Veterinary Surgeons Dr. Elaine Ong and Dr. Chris Barton will again volunteer their time and expertise (along with a small team of their highly skilled veterinary nursing staff). They will head to China to train Chinese vets, in up to the minute operating and animal handling techniques. Chinese trainers will then be selected to in turn train other vets in China
They will teach Chinese vets how to administer pain relief, the correct pre and post operative care, correct animal handling and sterilisation techniques. Elaine and Chris will train the vets first hand, in both practical and theoretical techniques, to ensure less pain and suffering for their patients and better outcomes.
High on the agenda is sterilisation (of stray animals) and disease prevention, creating a better future for the animals and the community.
These amazing volunteers are working closely with ACTAsia to assist in their vital work in China. ACTAsia understands that veterinary professionals play a vital role in promoting positive interaction between humans and animals. Vets have the authority to work with Government agencies to manage stray animals, and have the influence to turn a brutal campaign into a humane program in many developing countries.
The vet training program is part of a larger effort to lay a sustainable foundation with government officials, veterinarians and animal groups, for long term stray animal control and rabies prevention programmes
ActAsia’s training program has been developed and delivered since 2009. This vital work is brought to life by the tireless dedication of experienced volunteers. The program has meant that Australian vets are training Chinese vets who have since become trainers themselves. The trainers in China will in turn train their colleagues and the power of education and generational change will ensure a better future for animals in China.
Comprehensive training guides have been translated and produced for the vets training in China. Elaine and her team have painstakingly developed the guide with up to the minute information and guidelines for vets. These guides are invaluable for ensuring strict guidelines and techniques are adhered to.
The message of the program is that people and animals can live together harmoniously. Using education as the key to changing the face of animal welfare in China, by training vets to become educators themselves, and to share their knowledge and skills with a wider circle of animal professionals in China.
ACTAsia is working in collaboration with the Beijing government on stray animal control, real progress is being made with the Beijing government supporting ACTAsia’s mission by encouraging vets in China to be more open to new surgical techniques and animal welfare knowledge.
Reinforcing their commitment to changing animal welfare and caring for the environment through education, ACTAsia also delivers this message through their ‘Caring for Life Education’ program. This educational program delivered to elementary school children in China, teaches children to develop compassion and a sense of responsibility towards people, animals and the environment. This innovative and engaging program has reached 14,000 urban and rural school children and is delivered by professional teachers in a comprehensive, integrated format.
If you would like to learn more about ACTAsia and its groundbreaking work please visit: www.ACTAsia.org