Are you ready to support meaningful change for a sustainable future?

A Veterinary Approach to Sustainable Food and Farming will empower veterinary professionals working with farm animals to unlock their unique toolbox of skills and knowledge to help producers attain multiple sustainability objectives – for the benefit of the animals under our care, rural communities, wildlife and the wider environment. This online learning course has been written and developed by a collaborative team from Vet Sustain and VetSalus.

  • Sustainability course designed for veterinarians and paraprofessionals working with production animals

  • Self-Paced Online Learning Course

  • Designed to fit around busy work and life schedules

  • During this course you will study:

  • The Role of Veterinary Professionals in Sustainability

  • Sustainability Challenges and Opportunities in Food and Farming

  • Farming Systems of the World

  • Better and Efficient Farming

  • Agro-ecological, organic, and regenerative agriculture

  • Driving Change and Sustainable and Regenerative Business

Course Curriculum

Take a closer look at the course, including some FREE lesson previews!

    1. Course overview

      FREE PREVIEW
    2. Welcome to the Course from Laura

    3. Welcome to the Course from David

    4. Modules

      FREE PREVIEW
    5. What to Expect

      FREE PREVIEW
    6. How to Navigate The Course - Top Tips

    7. Opening questionnaire

    8. Directory of recommended reading and resources

    9. About us

      FREE PREVIEW
    10. Glossary of Terms

    1. Brief overview

      FREE PREVIEW
    2. Module champion: Ruth Clements

      FREE PREVIEW
    3. TASK Module 1 Introductions

    4. 1.1 Introduction

      FREE PREVIEW
    5. 1.2 Sustainability 101

      FREE PREVIEW
    6. TASK 1.2 Sustainability 101

      FREE PREVIEW
    7. 1.2.1 Sustainability 101

      FREE PREVIEW
    8. Quick quiz

    9. 1.3 The Anthropocene

      FREE PREVIEW
    10. TASK 1.3 The Anthropocene

    11. 1.3.1 The Anthropocene

      FREE PREVIEW
    12. Quick quiz

    13. 1.4 Sustainability: a destination or journey?

    14. TASK 1.4 Sustainability: a destination or journey?

    15. 1.5 Meaningful change

    16. TASK 1.5 Meaningful change

    17. 1.5.1 Meaningful change

    18. TASK 1.5.1 Meaningful change

    19. 1.5.2 Meaningful change

    20. TASK 1.5.2 Meaningful change

    21. Quick quiz

    22. 1.6 Voluntary sustainability initiatives in food and farming

    23. TASK 1.6 Voluntary sustainability initiatives in food and farming

    24. 1.7 Why veterinary professionals?

    25. 1.7.1 Why veterinary professionals?

    26. 1.7.2 Why veterinary professionals?

    27. TASK 1.7.2 Why veterinary professionals?

    28. Quick quiz

    29. 1.8 A changing profession

    30. TASK 1.8 A changing profession

    31. Final reflection

    32. Introducing: The project

    33. Project Guidelines

    34. References and further reading

    1. Brief Overview

    2. Module champion: Rob Howe

    3. TASK Module 2 Introductions

    4. 2.1 Introduction

    5. 2.2 Sustainability in our own operations – why is it so important?

    6. TASK 2.2 Sustainability in our own operations – why is it so important?

    7. Quick quiz

    8. 2.3 What are other sectors doing?

    9. TASK 2.3 What are other sectors doing?

    10. 2.4 Sustainability in clinical veterinary settings – responsible resource use

      FREE PREVIEW
    11. 2.4.1 Sustainability in clinical veterinary settings – responsible resource use

    12. 2.5 Sustainability in clinical veterinary settings – sustainable operations

    13. TASK 2.5.1 Sustainability in clinical veterinary settings – sustainable operations

    14. TASK 2.5.1.2 Sustainability in clinical veterinary settings – sustainable operations

    15. 2.5.2 Sustainability in clinical veterinary settings – sustainable operations

    16. TASK 2.5.2 Discuss Telemedicine

    17. Quick quiz

    18. 2.6 Sustainability in clinical veterinary settings – use medicines responsibly

    19. TASK 2.6 Sustainability in clinical veterinary settings – use medicines responsibly

    20. Quick quiz

    21. 2.7 Sustainability in clinical veterinary settings – empowering the team

    22. TASK 2.7 Sustainability in clinical veterinary settings – empowering the team

    23. Quick quiz

    24. 2.8 Engaging and sustaining the whole veterinary team

    25. TASK 2.8 Engaging and sustaining the whole veterinary team

    26. 2.8.1 Engaging and sustaining the whole veterinary team

    27. Quick quiz

    28. Final reflection

    29. References and further reading

    1. Brief Overview

    2. Module champion: Alice Geddes

    3. 3.1 Sustainability Challenges in our Food Systems

    4. TASK 3.1 Sustainability Challenges in our Food Systems

    5. 3.2 Sustainability challenges – Environment

    6. 3.2.1 Sustainability challenges – Environment

    7. TASK 3.2.1 Sustainability challenges – Environment

    8. 3.2.3 Sustainability challenges - People & Animals

    9. 3.2.4 Sustainability challenges - People

    10. 3.3 Frameworks and approaches to consider sustainability challenges

    11. Quick quiz

    12. 3.3.1 Ethics: People

    13. 3.3.2 Ethics: Animals

    14. TASK 3.3.2 Ethics: Animals

    15. 3.3.3 Ethics: Animals

    16. TASK 3.3.3 Ethics: Animals

    17. 3.4 Opportunities for change

    18. TASK 3.4 Opportunities for change

    19. Quick quiz

    20. 3.5 Challenges or opportunities in food and farming – key debates

      FREE PREVIEW
    21. 3.5.1 Challenges or opportunities in food and farming – key debates

      FREE PREVIEW
    22. TASK 3.5.1 Challenges or opportunities in food and farming – key debates

      FREE PREVIEW
    23. Quick quiz

    24. 3.6 Changing demand to address sustainability

    25. 3.6.1 Changing demand to address sustainability

    26. Quick quiz

    27. Final Reflection

    28. References and further reading

    1. Brief Overview

    2. Module Champion: David Black

    3. 4.1 Why do we farm?

    4. Quick quiz

    5. 4.2 What do we farm?

    6. 4.3 Where do we farm?

    7. 4.4 Farming systems

    8. 4.5 What wild food do we catch and harvest?

    9. Quick quiz

    10. 4.6 Farming Livelihoods

    11. 4.7 The role of veterinary professionals in different farming systems of the world

    12. Quick quiz

    13. Final Reflection

    14. References

    1. Brief Overview

    2. Module Champion: Navaratnam Partheeban

    3. 5.1 Existing structures and classifications for ‘Better’ food and farming

    4. 5.2 Assurance schemes

    5. Quick Quiz

    6. 5.3 Food business standards

    7. Quick Quiz

    8. 5.4 The role of veterinary professionals in farming standards

    9. 5.5 How can we assess which countries, companies and assurance schemes are supporting ‘Better’ farming?

    10. Quick quiz

    11. 5.6 On-farm tools to measure ‘Better’ farming outcomes

    12. Quick quiz

    13. 5.7 The importance of metrics

    14. Quick quiz

    15. Final reflection

    16. References

About this course

  • £1,500.00
  • 205 lessons
  • Live and Recorded Tutorials from Course Facilitator
  • Interactive Content including Charts and Figures, as well as videos from Module Champions
  • Opportunity for Deep Dives and Recommended Reading

Pricing Options

Overseas businesses can purchase the course exclusive of VAT. All UK residents and overseas individuals are subject to VAT.


If you require an invoice or VAT receipt please email executive.officer@vetsalus.com

Similarly, if you are an overseas business and would like to enrol on our course, select the non-VAT price and contact our team with your business details.

Hear what those who have joined the course have to say:

It's definitely living up to expectations!

Hannah K, Farm Vet, UK

I am thoroughly enjoying the course so far and am really pleased to be doing the training. I have been interested in food systems for a long time and have been waiting for some CPD that really covered this fast moving and complex area. It's definitely living up to expectations!

Challenging, enlightening and motivating!

Tom W, Farm Vet, UK

A fascinating, in-depth exploration of sustainable food production and the role practitioners hold in shaping our farming practices, both current and future. I found it challenging, enlightening and above all, motivating. It enables us as farm advisors to guide clients through the many changing expectations (and opportunities) within agriculture.

Meet Your Course Facilitators

Course Author and Facilitator Laura Higham BVM&S MSc MRCVS

Laura Higham is a Director of Vet Sustain and veterinary consultant in sustainable livestock production at the Food Animal Initiative (FAI), working alongside food businesses to drive sustainability in commercial supply chains, with a focus on animal welfare and responsible antibiotic use. Having previously worked in the charity sector implementing projects to support animal-based livelihoods in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, she has a deep interest in the intersect between international development and animal health and welfare, and the wider roles of vets in society. Laura is a PhD researcher in antimicrobial use and animal welfare in agriculture at The Global Academy for Agriculture and Food Security at Edinburgh University, and holds an MSc in international animal health.

Course Facilitator David Black BVM&S DBR DVetMed FRCVS

David is Managing Director of Paragon Veterinary Group, a three centre, 25 vet, fiercely independent, mixed rural vet practice in Cumbria. He is also Managing Director of VetSalus, a business initiative developing livestock vet collaboration and consultancy globally, as well as a founder Director and interim Treasurer of Vet Sustain. His clinical interests are in dairy practice, particularly reproduction and advanced breeding technologies including embryo transfer and IVF. Post graduate qualifications include a Diploma in Bovine Reproduction and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and he is an Emeritus RCVS Recognised Specialist in Cattle Health and Production. He is Treasurer of the World Association for Buiatrics, and a member of the Dairy Science Forum. In 2020, he was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and he is passionate about vet-led business, global veterinary collaboration, One Health and Veterinary Sustainability.

What Students Can Expect From The Course

  • Discussion Forums

    Students will have the opportunity to join and interact with a community of like minded veterinary professionals taking the course at the same time

  • Online Tutorials

    Option to attend live (recorded) online tutorials at the beginning, middle and end of the course to consolidate the learning material, address specific questions and participate in discussions

  • LANTRA Certificate

    Upon completion of the course and submission of an assignment (max 2500 words), successful students will receive a LANTRA accredited certificate

Meet our Course Authors

Laura Higham

BVM&S MSc MRCVS

Laura Higham is a Director of Vet Sustain and veterinary consultant in sustainable livestock production at the Food Animal Initiative (FAI), working alongside food businesses to drive sustainability in commercial supply chains, with a focus on animal welfare and responsible antibiotic use. Having previously worked in the charity sector implementing projects to support animal-based livelihoods in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, she has a deep interest in the intersect between international development and animal health and welfare, and the wider roles of vets in society. Laura is a PhD researcher in antimicrobial use and animal welfare in agriculture at The Global Academy for Agriculture and Food Security at Edinburgh University, and holds an MSc in international animal health.
Alex Tomlinson

Ashleigh Bright

BSc MSc DPhil

Ashleigh Bright is a freelance animal welfare and sustainability consultant based in New Zealand. Ashleigh was the Head of Science at FAI for 15 years, before which she completed her BSc and MSc in animal behaviour at Waikato University in New Zealand and a PhD in animal welfare at the University of Oxford. Ashleigh’s core interest is the complex challenge facing global food production, applying robust science in a practical and commercial context, to ensure farmers and their supply chain partners have the knowledge and insight they need to grow food sustainably.
Alex Tomlinson

Alex Tomlinson

MA Vet MB MSc PhD Dip ECZM (Wildlife Population Health) MRCVS

Alex Tomlinson qualified as a veterinarian from Cambridge University in 1992. After spells in mixed practice and a teaching position at Hartpury University, Alex specialised in wildlife health, beginning with an MSc in Wild Animal Health from the Royal Veterinary College/Institute of Zoology, followed by a position as a wildlife pathologist. From there, she progressed to a PhD from Liverpool University, studying the epidemiology of bovine tuberculosis in free-living badgers at Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire. Since 2013, Alex has been self-employed, working on wildlife conservation projects with Wildlife Vets International, as a veterinary consultant for the Food Animal Initiative (FAI), and most recently working with sankalpa on regenerative food systems and their role in supporting human, animal and environmental health in the widest possible sense.
Alex Tomlinson