The July 1st 2006 edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association features an article on the future supply of Veterinarians in food production and ranked poultry veterinary medicine as the sector with the lowest future demand for specialist veterinarians. By Simon Shane
Artificial separation between training in the “traditional” aspects of poultry production, generally taught in departments of animal science or agricultural colleges and the “academic partition” imposed by veterinary schools is a significant deterrent to achieving a well rounded, competent practitioner.
The conclusions of the JAVMA survey with regard to future opportunities in food animal medicine are both correct in the narrow context of the survey but hopelessly wrong in relation to the realities of the Industry. Poultry veterinarians should be more broadly trained by incorporation of economics, business management, communication skills, applied nutrition, environmental concerns and ethics into their curriculums.
Programs of post graduate instruction should clearly differentiate between research and industry tracks. More extensive exposure to what are currently regarded as “peripheral considerations” (ie non-veterinary aspects) of poultry production, should be encouraged through interdisciplinary participation in training.
Ultimately the Industry does not require more Veterinarians with the current approach but species-oriented generalists with a broad base of skills and knowledge to equip them for leadership positions by application of scientific principles, experience and strong personal qualities.
By: Simon Shane