Back to blog list

A call to recognise collective excellence in veterinary service

03 Apr 2024 | Luke Gamble


The BVA Animal Health and Welfare Overseas Award (J. Trevor Blackburn Award) recognises a BVA member’s contributions to animal health and welfare in low and middle income countries. This short letter is a heartfelt plea from last year’s winner, Dr Luke Gamble, for the profession to nominate their outstanding colleagues.

A call to recognise collective excellence in veterinary service  Image

Dear colleagues

As a recent recipient of the BVA Animal Health and Welfare Overseas Award (J. Trevor Blackburn Award), I find myself reflecting not on personal achievements, but on the extraordinary efforts of veterinarians who dedicate their lives to animal welfare, especially in challenging environments. 

This award, while granted to an individual, is truly a celebration of collective endeavour. It recognises the significant contributions to animal health and welfare in low and middle-income countries, a cause to which many of you contribute tirelessly. 

My own journey, which led to receiving this honour, was far from a solo venture. It was a path walked in the company of remarkable teams and colleagues. Since founding Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) and Mission Rabies, all my successful projects and achievements have been a testament to collaboration, dedication, and shared passion. For example, two weeks ago I was in the slums of Mumbai where we vaccinated 26,900 dogs against rabies – in just 5 days. I played a tiny part in that achievement. I was with a team of 250 people from all over the world. Vets and nurses from over ten different countries volunteered to be a part of that mission. It was a totally uplifting experience because it’s this shared idealism that inspires, motivates, and binds us together both as a profession and as a force for good. 

My experiences with WVS and Mission Rabies over the last twenty years underscore a vital truth: no significant achievement is ever the work of one person. Behind every successful initiative are unseen heroes: veterinarians, support staff, volunteers, and local communities, all working towards a common goal. It’s these individuals, often working quietly and without expectation of recognition, who truly embody the spirit of the J. Trevor Blackburn Award. 

I write to you today to encourage you to nominate a colleague for this award. Consider those in our community who exemplify the spirit of service and collaboration. Who among us has inspired you through their commitment to animal health and welfare? Whose story of teamwork and resilience resonates with you? 

Nominating a peer is a straightforward yet profound way to acknowledge their contributions. It's an opportunity to bring deserved recognition to the unsung heroes among us, those who work relentlessly, often in challenging conditions, for the betterment of animal welfare and public health. 

By recognising one, we celebrate all. Every nominee represents the collective spirit and dedication of our profession. This award is not just about the recipient, but about the community and teamwork that underpin our profession’s contributions to global animal health. 

I humbly urge you to take a moment to nominate a colleague. Visit the BVA website for the nomination process and criteria. Together, let’s shine a light on those remarkable individuals among us, whose work continues to inspire and make a tangible difference in the world. 

With best wishes


The 2024 BVA Animal Health and Welfare Overseas Award is now open for nominations.

If you know a BVA member who you believe should be recognised for their contributions to animal health and welfare in low and middle income countries, why not nominate?

Fill out our nomination form and submit by midnight, 3 June 2024.


Want to join BVA?

Get tailored news in your inbox and online, plus access to our journals, resources and support services, join the BVA.

Join Us Today

Want the latest updates from BVA?

For tailored content in your inbox, access to world-class veterinary journals, member-only resources and support, join BVA today. Be part of our veterinary community of over 19,000 members.