The European Association of Establishment of Veterinary Education (EAEVE) held their 34th General Assembly in Turin on 30th September. The meeting was followed by the EAEVE Educational Day taking place on 1st October. The programme of the EAEVE Educational Day 2021 was particularly dedicated to the discussions on the use of digital technologies and artificial intelligence (DT&AI) in veterinary education and in veterinary practice.
The experts of the DT&AI working group of the European Coordinating Committee on Veterinary Training (ECCVT), Prof Pierre Lekeux, Dr Volker Moser, and Prof Jimmy Saunders were invited to share their views on this trending topic. The experts underlined that such technologies are already available in veterinary education and practice and that the new generation is very familiar with digital interactions, while universities have started to acknowledge that veterinary curricula must encompass the teaching on and the use of such technologies in undergraduate and post-graduate veterinary educational programmes.
The veterinary profession recognises, as well, that the “new veterinary practice”, which integrates the use of new technologies and new technics – such as telemedicine – is already a reality, provides new opportunities, but needs also a robust framework to function within.
“The use of digital technologies and artificial intelligence in veterinary education and in veterinary practice are not only the future, but they are already the present. While it is clear that these technologies cannot replace the veterinarian in practice, at the same time, the veterinarian using these technologies will certainly replace those ones that they do not”, said Prof Pierre Lekeux, Chair of the ECCVT Working Group on digital technologies and artificial intelligence and welcomed anyone interested to explore opportunities in this field to contact ECCVT Secretariat.
ECCVT points out the imperative need for all veterinary education establishments to ensure a better understanding of the new competences needed to be acquired by the students and veterinarians in the field. These competences shall enable veterinarians to recognise what to expect by those tools – what is feasible and where are the limits – and how important human supervision is to ensure their reliable and ethical use.
ECCVT encourages veterinary education establishments, research centres, practitioner’s associations and veterinary chambers to enhance collaborations and partnerships, to promote the development of reliable technologies, to establish and enhance validation methods and authorisation procedures for such technologies, and to create a robust framework for their use in line with the recommendations made by the ECCVT working group.
Note to the editors
Founding organisations of the European Coordinating Committee on Veterinary Training (ECCVT) are the “European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education” (EAEVE), the “European Board for Veterinary Specialization” (EBVS) and the “Federation of Veterinarians of Europe” (FVE) representing academia, veterinary specialisation and the veterinary profession respectively. The European Coordinating Committee on Veterinary Training (ECCVT) was created in 2004.
In 2019 the International Veterinary Students Association (IVSA – European regional representative) was also invited to contribute to the discussion in an ad-hoc role.
The working group on digital technologies and artificial intelligence was established in 2019 under the auspices of the European Coordinating Committee on Veterinary Training (ECCVT) to develop and present an opinion on the use of digital technologies and artificial intelligence in veterinary education and practice. Following the release of it, the working keeps on promoting the use of such technologies in line with the presented recommendations.