survey on decline confirms
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- The number of veterinarians who work with cows, pigs, chickens and other farm animals is on the decline as many prepare to retire and fewer students opt for large animal practice, results from a recent study showed.
Current vets said they already drive for hours to meet with clients, and officials are worried about the impact on food safety, as large-animal veterinarians serve as inspectors at ranches and slaughterhouses.
"They're basically on the front line when it comes to maintaining a safe food supply, not only in the U.S., but in products we export. Vets diagnose diseases that can be transferred from animals to humans," said David Kirkpatrick, spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Results of a survey conducted by the group were released last month. The study found that only 2 percent of veterinary school students in 2010 graduating class said they planned to work mostly with large, non-pet animals.