The fundraiser is being held as part of Merial’s #Calfmatters campaign and aims to raise awareness of calf pneumonia as well as help improve the health of beef and dairy calves by vaccinations.
To reward the first 100 vets to register for the fundraiser, Meriot have given then a FitBit Alta Fitness tracker. Participants will work in teams, virtually, to try and achieve the goal over the course of 20 weeks. The goal of course being 141 million steps.
Weekly targets include distances for some iconic routes around the UK and also abroad. These include the South West Coastal Path (1.26million steps-630miles), Land’s End to John O’Groats (874miles or 1,748,000 steps), the width of Australia (2,500 miles, 5 million steps) and circumnavigation of the globe (24,874 miles, 49,748,000 steps).
Speaking about the fundraiser was Victoria Hudson, Merial Animal Health’s product manager for Bovalto. She relayed the main aim of the fundraiser, animal health and productivity, “Our message is about prevention and improving health and productivity. We are all prone to exercising less than we should, and while Merial has launched the #CALFMATTERS campaign to improve the health and wellbeing of calves, we wanted to help vets and the Merial team improve their health and fitness too!”
She also added that each week the distances required are longer and harder, “These distance and step targets get progressively harder each week, but as more vets join the challenge the step goals will be shared by larger teams!”.
Steps and miles recorded by challengers, will be logged by Meriot, while keeping a tally on the soon-to-launch #CALFMATTERS campaign website, and updates will be posted on the Calfmatters Facebook page (facebook.com/calfmatters) and @CalfMatters Twitter feed.
Tim Potter, Veterinary Surgeon and Consultant at Westpoint Veterinary Group, is one of the vets to sign up for the fundraiser. He highlighted the importance and benefits of the event and all the good it can do for developing agriculture in Africa. He said “The challenge appealed to me for a number of reasons; the opportunity to promote Farm Africa and raise funds to support the work they do in developing agriculture in Africa, and raise awareness of calf health and the importance of proactive management in ensuring the long-term health and performance of young stock.”
Mr. Potter also stressed the importance of preventing disease in animals with vaccines, He said “The use of preventative medicines such as vaccines is a key way of preventing disease on farm and reducing antimicrobial use on farm; which given the current concerns over antimicrobial resistance is a very important message for UK farmers.”
Merial is supporting Farm Africa as part of the challenge. The charity main goals are to help farmers and communities in eastern Africa lift themselves out of poverty by providing support, training in effective farming methods.
They also hope to set up links to markets to build more productive and profitable farming businesses.
Merial is encouraging individuals to support Farm Africa by making a donation through the Calfmatters’ Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/calfmatters.
Victoria Hudson said, “We believe in helping farmers farm better, with healthy animals that produce quality meat and milk,” says Victoria. “Africa’s livestock farmers face significant challenges. They often lack the necessary skills, and have limited access to high quality animal feed, vaccines and medicines to improve their herd’s health or productivity.”
She also spoke of the great work done by the charity, “Farm Africa helps by giving livestock farmers the advice and access to co-ops to acquire the products and equipment they need, and opens up markets to them to sell their products at a better price. We have asked Farm Africa to direct the funds raised from the challenge to livestock work.”
The challenge will finish at BCVA Congress 2017 on 19-21 October, where the money raised for Farm Africa will be handed across to the charity by Dale Templar the producer of the BBC documentary series The Human Planet.