Will Vet Students Endanger Our Food Safety?

livestockOfficials are worried that there will be a shortage of veterinarians trained to work on farms in the near future. A more large-animal veterinarians will be retiring than there will be new vets entering the field, as more veterinary students choose to work with household pets. A recent survey revealed that only two percent of veterinary school students plan to work with non-pet animals, and only anther seven percent so much as receive training to handle large animals.

Farm veterinarians play a key role in keeping livestock healthy, and serve as inspectors at ranches and slaughterhouses. “They’re basically on the front line when it comes to maintaining a safe food supply,” David Kirkpatrick told USA Today. “Not only in the U.S., but in products we export. Vets diagnose diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans.” Kirkpatrick is a spokes person for the American Veterinary Medical Association.

“We have known for years anecdotally that vets were having a difficult time finding people to work at their practice or selling it when they retire,” Kirkpatrick said. “But now we know how big the problem is and how that will magnify over the years.” Half of farm vets are over the age of 50, while only 4.4 percent are under the age of 30.

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