The Department of Labor projects 28,000 veterinary job openings by 2012. Currently, universities produce about 2,500 vets each year. The annual shortfall is projected to be about 5 percent, according to Mark Lutschaunig, director of governmental relations for the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Recent veterinary school graduates are likely to work in suburban pet clinics. That may be good for Fido, but it’s bad for livestock destined for the nation’s kitchens and restaurants.
The problem goes beyond sheer numbers. If there aren’t enough veterinarians to vaccinate herds, treat diseases, deliver calves safely and ensure that foreign food sources are safe, tainted meat and other toxic products could be the result.