Dr Natasha Lee, member of the WSAVA Animal Welfare Guidelines Group and WSAVA Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee... Dr Natasha Lee is a vet from Malaysia with more than 14 years’ experience in animal welfare. Her areas of interest include companion animal welfare, animal welfare science and shelter medicine. A member of the Animal Welfare Guidelines Group and the Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee, she helped to launch the new WSAVA Guidelines to Assembly Representatives at World Congress and has launched them at other congresses in Asia since then.
What is your day job?
I’m an independent animal welfare consultant and work with organizations to improve their animal welfare programs or to provide training to people interested to learn about animal welfare. My work is varied so I don’t have a standard day job. I can be training one week, facilitating the next, then auditing and then back to surgery. Now that I’m independent I can also try out new things. For instance, I’ve recently been involved with equine welfare programs, farm auditing, organizing conferences and planning long-term fundraising for an organization.
How are you involved with the WSAVA?
I’m a member of both the Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee and the Animal Welfare Guidelines Group. I felt that my experience, having seen many different practices and animal welfare projects in Asia, meant that I could accurately represent our region, as well as bring knowledge to the Welfare Guidelines Group in particular.
Our new Guidelines are important because, while there is a great deal of information about animal welfare out there, it’s all in different places. For the first time, we’ve brought it all together to make it easy to access and that’s what’s so exciting about this project.
What difference do you hope that the Welfare Guidelines will make to veterinarians – and to their patients?
I want all veterinarians to be more aware of animal welfare and of their role in advocating it to the public. Higher levels of awareness will translate into more consideration being given to reduce stress and to promote positive experiences for the animals in our care.
Our Guidelines are just the first step. We are now translating them into more languages and moving on to create practical tools for clinicians. Further down the track, we hope to create an education package to teach veterinarians how to apply the Guidelines in their practice.
Why is the WSAVA’s work important?
We offer a unique space in which we can work together to improve the veterinary care of companion animals globally and speak out for their welfare.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
When I’m not working, I’m a slave to my cat, Alfie, who walked into my home one day and never left.