the “real world” cannot all be replicated efficiently in the lab. The concentration at which chemicals are toxic not only to mammals, birds, fishes, reptiles and amphibians, but also to invertebrates and native microbes, is an important consideration in evaluating risks related to chemicals released from human activities into natural areas (corridors, streams, reserves, etc.). Wildlife must not only compete with one another to find food, nesting sites, and mates, but also care for their young, avoid predation, and contend with infectious disease entities. Since this occurs not only in pristine areas, but also in crowded, physically-degraded, habitat remnants, there is a greater need than ever to protect them from additional disabilities related to exposures to chemical contaminants.
Veterinary Membership in Environmental Toxicological Associations
The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), which focuses on wildlife and ecological toxicology, was founded in 1979 to develop “principles and practices for protection, enhancement, and management of sustainable environmental quality and ecosystem integrity”(SETAC, 2012). Its members address problems related to chemicals through research, analysis, regulation, product substitution, and education. SETAC convenes an annual meeting for scientists, managers, and other professionals to learn from each another through poster and platform presentations, and publishes the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. SETAC membership has increased from 230 charter members in 1980 to nearly 5,000 members at present, representing all 50 states of the United States, 13 Canadian provinces, and more than 70 countries worldwide. Another indication of growth is that participants at SETAC annual meetings increased from 470 in 1980 to more than 2,500 in 2003. SETAC membership includes nearly equal representation from industry, government, and academia. SETAC does not sort its members based on their training, and thus the percentage of members with veterinary degrees is unavailable. Because of the global reach of toxicants and the value of harmonization of environmental standards, SETAC has fostered sister organizations, including SETAC/Europe, SETAC Asia/Pacific, and SETAC/Latin America. SETAC established a Foundation for Environmental Education and a SETAC World Council to promote international communication of environmental issues. SETAC members and other ecotoxicologists focus on reconciling agriculture, forestry, mining, industry, and urban/suburban management with ecological stewardship.
In advising students with interests in careers involving zoos, wildlife, conservation, ecosystems, and environments (including human-dominated ones), and in deciding how to allocate limited slots in DVM classes, a number of ques-