Christopher Riggs elected as AO VET Asia Pacific Board chairperson


08 June 2021

Christopher Riggs

Christopher Riggs, BVSc, DEO, PhD, DipECVS, FRCVS, a veterinary orthopedist with vast experience with Thoroughbred racehorses, has been elected to a 4-year term as chairperson of the AO VET Asia Pacific Board, beginning in July 2021.

Riggs, who succeeds current AO VET Asia Pacific Chairperson Mark Glyde, was Head of Veterinary Clinical Services at the Hong Kong Jockey Club for 17 years before taking on his current position as Director Equine Welfare Research Foundation, Chief Adviser Veterinary Science at the Club earlier this year. Going into his term as chairperson, Riggs brings more than 30 years of experience—split between the United Kingdom, Australia, and Hong Kong—including more than 60 publications in the field of orthopaedics, AO VET leadership background going back to 2010, and expert-level knowledge of Asia Pacific veterinarians’ needs.


Rapid development in Asia Pacific

“The veterinary profession in many countries in the Asia Pacific region is developing rapidly—especially in China where veterinary care of pets has shown extraordinary growth over the past ten years,” says Riggs, who has served on the AO VET Asia Pacific Board for the past six years. “This is set to continue and it is important that our colleagues in the region have access to high-quality educational opportunities to ensure that they can learn sound clinical decision-making and how to apply surgical techniques to the greatest effect.”

AO VET—with its global reputation for integrity, first-class application of clinical science, and excellence in teaching—needs to ensure that its brand is widely publicized, maintained at the highest standard, and at the forefront of veterinary orthopedic surgical practice.

“We must do this by actively engaging at university and grassroots levels and through effectively liaising with relevant industry partners,” Riggs explains, adding that clinical care of horses has lagged behind other areas of veterinary practice in many countries in the Asia Pacific region but is set to develop. “Growing interest in equine sports, backed by government policy and significant growth in the import of high-quality bloodstock provide incentive for development of equine veterinary practice within China, presenting an important chance for AO VET to expand its reach in this field.”

Opportunities across the region

While China offers opportunities, so do other countries in the region.

“It is important that AO VET maintain and expand the level of service that it currently provides throughout the area,” he emphasizes.

As a specialist in equine orthopedics, Riggs said he will count on the expertise of is his colleagues on the Board, who are highly respected and well-connected small animal surgeons and clinical teachers, to help drive excellence in all areas.

“Clearly, the majority of AO VET work centers on canine and feline surgery, and the AO VET Asia Pacific Board must be strong in small animal orthopedics,” he adds.

Riggs believes effective solutions will only be found when countries and societies trust one another and collaborate to work for the common good.

“I am confident that any organization that openly shares sound values, knowledge, and skills irrespective of personal attributes will making a valuable contribution to breaking down barriers,” he asserts. “This is one of the things I respect and admire about AO VET, and that motivates me to serve this organization.”

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