Opinion

Veterinary numbers need to be on agenda

Elizabeth Anderson
By Elizabeth Anderson
May 7 2022 - 12:08am
Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

THIS might date me for some readers, but I grew up watching A Country Practice.

This might be why I consider rural GPs and country veterinarians to be aspirational jobs.

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I even did a week of my school-based work experience at a country vet, before realising that was not where my talents lay.

But even back in those days, a country vet sighting was a rare event.

Not just because our 'local' vets were at the next town over - some 60 kilometres away (close by some standards) - but because they were always booked out or on the road.

Farmers have always cared for their animals, but in recent years it feels like there is even more focus from outside the industry on animal welfare and more threats from potential disease outbreaks.

Country vets are the first line of defence.

With the recent Japanese encephalitis outbreak, producers are being urged to liaise with their vets to monitor their animals.

Vets are also the first point of contact for other potential outbreaks, including foot and mouth disease.

On the animal welfare side, as Rebel Skirving says, no one wants to see anyone - farmers or pet owners - unable to get the help they need for their animals.

As with the GPs and allied health shortage in rural areas, there is no quick fix, but it needs to be on agendas for governments, industry and anyone else who can help.

Elizabeth Anderson

Editor of Stock Journal.

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