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AABP Timely News

President's Message

Is There REALLY a Rural Veterinarian Shortage?

The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.
Thomas Sowell

A common phrase heard in many coffee shops, sale barns and other places cattle owners congregate goes something like this, “You can’t ever get a vet when you need one.” I’ve heard this or similar statements many times over my career when visiting with producers one-on-one at meetings or other settings. Typically, the person making this type of statement rarely utilizes scheduled, preventive veterinary services, but is annoyed once or twice a year when a veterinarian is not immediately available for an emergency. This common “veterinary shortage” statement generally does not indicate willingness to support a local practitioner by utilizing routine preventive health services and as an investment in their operation. As stated in last month’s newsletter, the education of future and current producers on the importance of investment in competent veterinary services is critical in the veterinary shortage equation. There will never simply be enough veterinarians to alleviate this real or perceived “shortage.” Demand creation will increase supply.

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The American Association of Bovine Practitioners is an international association of veterinarians serving society as leaders in cattle health, welfare and productivity.


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