Speaker Profile


Ian Douglas
Director & Chair
Vets Beyond Borders
Vets Beyond Borders - Australian Veterinary Emergency Response Team: A novel veterinary response to wildlife rescue and welfare in Australia.

Vets Beyond Borders (VBB) is an Australian-based registered non-profit charity established in 2003 with a mission to create a world of better health for animals and people. VBB deploys experienced veterinary professionals to international partners across 12 countries to assist in animal welfare and OneHealth initiatives and delivers clinical training to graduate vets in developing regions where training is not accessible. The Australian Veterinary Emergency Response Team (AVERT) was established in 2015 as a nation-wide database of volunteer veterinarians and vet nurses, who are deployed to assist Australian state and territory emergency response officials following natural disasters or emergency animal disease outbreaks. In the recent 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires in Australia, AVERT sprang into action to assist native wildlife injured from the bushfire devastation. With local wildlife carers and residents rescuing the displaced surviving wildlife from their properties, VBB assisted local wildlife organisations in make-shift triage centres to receive, triage, and treat the intakes. VBB deployed over 50 veterinarians and veterinary nurses who contributed to a combined 400 days worked in triage centres across the country. During this time, VBB also assisted state agencies in establishing new policies for wildlife tranquilising during search and rescue missions.

VBB has been an important part of Ian’s veterinary life since 2005, when he was elected its inaugural president and commenced work, together with Sikkimese veterinarian, Dr Thinlay Bhutia, to establish the now highly regarded SARAH Program, India’s first state-wide anti-rabies project.

In early 2020, he led VBB's Australian Veterinary Emergency Response Team, coordinating the deployment of AVERT volunteers following the catastrophic bushfires that ravaged unique landscapes in many states, leading to the death, injury or displacement of countless numbers of wildlife.

Ian has devised and delivered training courses in the Asia-Pacific region, is the author of widely referenced publications on clinical aspects of animal welfare work and has been a regular guest speaker at animal welfare meetings.

He is a strong proponent of the “One Health” philosophy, promoting the collaboration of veterinarians, doctors and other health professionals in efforts to combat disease. Ian operates a veterinary neurological referral practice in Adelaide, South Australia.