July 14, 2006
July 14, 2006 - As demand for livestock veterinarians continues to grow, experts
are worried that there won't be enough new vets to cover the industry's needs.
That's especially worrisome in the event of an outbreak of diseases.
we don't have food-animal practitioners in the field as the first line of
defense to detect some of these things, that's a real vulnerability we have,"
said Mike Chaddock, a former Michigan state veterinarian who now works for the
Association of American Veterinary Colleges.
According to the American
Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the need for livestock veterinarians will
grow by as much as 13 percent a year, and that four in every 100 positions will
Officials said the nation's biggest employer of
veterinarians - the U.S. Department of Agriculture - will be short by as many as
400 veterinarians in coming years without increased recruiting efforts and a
slowdown in retirements. The agency's vets investigate disease outbreaks,
conduct research and inspect slaughterhouses.
Chaddock said the nation's
28 veterinary schools graduate about 2,500 students a year, but fewer than 10
percent of the graduates go into food-animal jobs.
and lawmakers are looking for ways to attract more students to livestock
medicine. The AVMA recommends giving students debt relief if they go to work in
underserved areas and says more scholarships are needed.