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World Veterinary Day 2004


World Veterinary Day 2004

World Veterinary Day is being celebrated on 24th April 2004. This is the fourth year that this day has been recognised, as a way of promoting the role and activities of veterinarians the world over.

100 years ago there were only about 15 veterinarians working in New Zealand. Now, there are approximately 1950, working in all areas from small animals to large, from pathology to pigs. 100 years ago, all 15 veterinarians would have been men. Now 40% of registered veterinarians in New Zealand are women, and 75% of the 2004 graduating year group from Massey University are women. This trend is reflected worldwide.

Just under half of registered veterinarians in New Zealand tend mainly to cats and dogs. Others work in large animal practices or in mixed practices. Large animal veterinarians are particularly important in ensuring that the health of New Zealand’s production animals is maintained at its high standard. The recent expansion of the dairy industry has resulted in a demand for more veterinarians in rural areas such as Waikato and Southland. A further 200 veterinarians are employed by the government, these vets are involved in bio-security, certification, auditing and animal welfare.

Every veterinarian who works in New Zealand has to be registered with the Veterinary Council of New Zealand. This professional regulatory body is responsible for protecting the public interest, by promoting and encouraging high standards of professional education and professional conduct among veterinarians, for setting standards for veterinary practice and for hearing and determining complaints against veterinarians. The Council comprises seven members, two of whom are lay members.

Massey University is the only university in New Zealand that offers the Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree – its five year Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree programme is respected worldwide as being of a very high standard. Of those Massey graduates who have registered in New Zealand since the first graduating class of 1968, 75% are still working in New Zealand, and others are working overseas.

Yet the number of Massey graduates was unable to fill the recent high demand for veterinarians, and so many overseas veterinarians have been attracted here for short or long periods. Of the 187 veterinarians who registered for the first time with the Veterinary Council of New Zealand in 2003, 111 were trained at universities overseas and 76 at Massey University.


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