Veterinarians Behind the Scenes: Government, Industry, and Zoo Medicine
Who do you think will discover a biological, epidemic, or food supply contamination threat first?
Veterinarians are uniquely qualified to recognize health and disease across any species, even undiscovered ones! We are uniquely trained in meat and food production systems and analysis. A veterinarian makes a terrific public health consultant.
A veterinarian was nominated as Surgeon General to the United States (he stepped down quickly for personal reasons.) Government veterinarians research terrible diseases, train and deploy service animals for the military, and maintain and protect the integrity of the food supply.
A United States military veterinarian discovered why thousands of people were dying after eating the meat in Bangladesh: the meat was preserved with poisonous formaldehyde!
Any Specialists might be employed by the government of their nation. If your country does not do so, convince them they need you, because they do!
What kinds of work does a government veterinarian do?
- The United States Animal Health Association is an alliance of US government and other animal health professional coordinating and communicating healthcare at a national level.
- The animal plant health inspection service (pdf), a division of the USDA, employs veterinarians.
- The US Food Safety Inspection Service employs many veterinarians to ensure that food animals are handled humanely, plants are sanitary, and the public food supply is safe. The FSIS is our first line defense against mad cow disease.
- In The United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, you can be a veterinary entomologist (A Bug Vet!)
- The Cooperative Extension Systems Offices are run by the USDA and they provide county-by-county support to the agriculture industry nationwide. The Extension Services are often one the local agriculture industry’s best resources.
- US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps hires veterinarians, not just physicians. This is the service for you if you wish to serve the poor and underprivileged in America.
- The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) helps direct and develop uniform public health procedures, especially regarding zoonotic diseases and biological hazards.
- Centers for Disease Control veterinarians study the disease and present the United States authority on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy BSE, methicillin resistant Staph aureus, H1N1, and all other scary diseases no one wants to get.
- Food and Drug Administration hires veterinarians for many duties including veterinary epidemiologist
- The National Institutes of Health conduct vast research and fund almost half of the research at veterinary universities nationwide. Their website, however, is set up to assist you in your veterinary health career research. The actual jobs veterinarians perform at the NIH are varied and cannot be searched under “veterinary,” yet a veterinarian is often the best qualified to fill a position of epidemiologist, or public health doctor.
- Air force
- US Customs and Border Patrol, including the Beagle Brigade, keeping foreign biologics out of the country.
- Veterinarians are even needed to care for animal space shuttle astronauts (pdf download page)!
Veterinarians in Industry
Veterinary Specialists in the Food Animal Production Industries
Food Animal Production veterinarians juggle the responsibility for animal health and quality of life with the industry’s demands for production, sometimes confinement, and sometimes at the expense of an individual animal’s life. It is challenging and interesting work, especially for someone with an “outsider’s” perspective, who did not grow up on a farm.
Many new insights are changing entrenched factory farming systems. Large housing stalls with a friend for veal calves, and cooperative piglet raising on grassy hillsides for production swine are just two fairly new practices changing the industry.
Happy animals are health animals. Healthy animals are more profitable. It seems simple, but it’s been decades in the making.
Production medicine offers a unique extreme career of rural, outdoor site visits and work, combined with air-conditioned, civilized, theoretical computer modeling and systems design to increase production through health measures and production system measures implemented through management schemes. Few careers offer the diversity of work and settings of production medicine.
Dairy, Beef, Chicken, Swine, Ducks, Rabbits, Ostrich, Fish (Aquaculture), Elk, Deer, Bison
Veterinarians in the Equine (Horse) Industry
Horses no longer take everyone to work and the grocery market, but they are still companions for pleasure and sport, professional racers, and trusted farm workers. Equine practice is anything from backyard trail horse hoof care to competitive, cutting edge and highly technical sports medicine.
And the One Specialist Every Kid Would Love to Be…Zoo Vet!
American College of Zoological Medicine
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians