Addressing the rural vet shortage

July 1, 2010

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From left: Professor Ian Robertson, David Lock from Craig Mostyn Group and Professor John Pluske discuss the rural vet shortage

Murdoch University is improving its production animal teaching facilities in a bid to encourage students to take up rural vet positions.

Professor Ian Robertson, Acting Dean of Murdoch’s School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, said vet shortages in rural and production animal practices were a problem in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

“To encourage students to take up careers in rural and production animal practices we need to give them the best production animal experience possible and that means providing the latest state-of-the-art equipment,” Professor Robertson said.

“We are refurbishing the sheep and pig facilities to showcase best practice, including the most rigorous animal welfare and human health and safety standards.

“Additionally, we are upgrading our reproduction labs to assist in developing of breeding stock and artificial insemination.

“Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of primary products and this has been achieved through efficient farming practices and freedom from the major diseases affecting animals in many other countries.

“These facilities will help maintain best-practice training of veterinary and animal science students which indirectly contributes to maintaining our valuable export markets.”

The on-campus farm facilities were originally built to state-of-the-art standards in the 1970s. However standards of animal welfare, human health and safety and farm management have greatly evolved over the past 30 years.  The University has also expanded the number of veterinary students from 40 to almost 100 per year.

Alcoa Farmlands, Craig Mostyn Group, Primaries of WA and National Australia Bank have all pledged to support the refurbishment of production animal teaching facilities at Murdoch University Veterinary Farm to a total of $35,000.

David Lock, CEO, Craig Mostyn Group, said: "As Western Australia's major pork producer and processor, Craig Mostyn Group and Linley Valley Fresh Pork is fully committed to the highest possible standards of animal welfare, quality control, biosecurity, human health and safety across its operations.

"Craig Mostyn Group recognises the importance of training the next generation of veterinarians and animal scientists and therefore is proud to financially support the upgrading of the production animal teaching facilities at Murdoch University.”

The University is seeking additional funding to complete the project.

“In order to attract students for field placements, build confidence in animal handling skills and demonstrate the opportunities for research and practice in production animal fields, Murdoch must demonstrate best practice on its veterinary farm,” Professor Robertson said.

Murdoch University Veterinary Trust has initiated the Investing in Rural and Production Animal Veterinary Training fund for contributions to the project. For further information about making a donation, contact the Veterinary Trust on (08) 9360 2731.

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