Large-animal veterinarians a rare breed

Shortage threatens public health, food safety, food security and economic growth.



December 21, 2022 - 11:46 AM

Veterinarians who take care of and routinely inspect large animals such as cows, horses and swine are in decline, especially in rural parts of the country. Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash

The United States is blessed with one of the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supplies in the world, but it’s not a blessing invulnerable to threats. The ongoing pandemic, extreme weather events around the world and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for instance, have contributed to supply chain disruptions and rapidly rising food costs.

And here’s another serious challenge that confronts the U.S. livestock and poultry industries: a severe shortage of food-animal veterinarians in rural areas.

This shortage threatens public health, food safety, food security and the economic growth of communities that depend on agriculture, and we should use the opportunity of the upcoming debate on the 2023 Farm Bill to tackle the problem before it worsens.

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