HERCA activities related to veterinary applications aim at proposing a radiation protection framework for veterinary application of ionizing radiation taking into account the following principles:

• Primary focus shall be on the protection of humans, not of the animals themselves;
• Due account shall be taken of the principle of “graded approach”
• Focus shall be on the education and training requirements for veterinary doctors and their ‘helpers’
• The proposal shall be developed in close collaboration with representative scientific/professional societies of veterinary medicine.

The ultimate goal is to provide a solid basis for a (more) harmonised approach throughout Europe. This should provide better guarantees for the justified and optimised diagnosis and treatment of animals in each and every of our member countries, and thus also of those who are taken abroad to receive treatment. The approaches proposed will have to duly consider the exposure risks of professionally exposed persons, pet owners, animal handlers and the public at large.

These activities are carried out by the HERCA Working Group on Veterinary Applications, set up in November 2013. The decision to set up this WG were based on the conclusions and proposals of a Task Force in the veterinary field.

In 2012, the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging (ECVDI) approached HERCA on the issue of radiation protection in veterinary medicine. In particular, ECVDI conveyed the message to HERCA that specific legislation for radiation protection in veterinary applications, which exists or is under construction in only a few countries would be of great help for veterinary professionals. On the occasion of its 10th meeting in October 2012, the Board of HERCA decided to set up the above mentioned Task Force (TF) in the veterinary field with the mandate of analysing the different radiation regulatory approaches in Europe in the veterinary field and to look into the radiation protection education and training requirements for veterinarians. The results of the investigations allowed deciding on the needs for further work in this field.