The AVMA is pleased to provide you a unique look into the state of food animal veterinary medicine and how a lack of practitioners is hitting some areas of the country much harder than others.
By painstakingly comparing data from the AVMA and the United States Department of Agriculture, we were able to pinpoint the hot spots in each state where few – if any – food animal veterinarians reside or have a practice located. The maps also identify counties where veterinarians may be located but where their numbers may be insufficient to support the concentration of food animals located in that area.
What we found is that the ratio of food animals to food animal veterinarians in some states – like Wyoming – is fairly well balanced. It's a different story in other states, however. Take South Dakota, for instance, where more than a dozen counties have more than 25,000 food animals but no food animal veterinarians.
Food animal concentration per food animal veterinarian data is displayed on individual state maps along with a national map. Looking at the national map, red flags show a disturbing reality in many locations, particularly through the central region of the country. Those flags indicate that there are more than 25,000 food animals in those areas but zero veterinarians with a listed address there. Counties colored red have food animal veterinarians, but may not have enough to provide services to all the animals.
This could pose significant issues for both food animal producers and practitioners. While our nation's food supply is one of the safest in the world, it is at risk because fewer veterinary school graduates are pursuing a career in food-animal veterinary medicine, and many aging practitioners are finding it difficult to hire help or sell their practice. Today, only about 17 percent of veterinarians work in food animal medicine, while more than 70 percent of veterinarians work with companion animals.
This first-of-its-kind report should prove to be a valuable resource for you – legislators, educators and veterinarians – as you explore the many challenges facing one of the nation's most critical issues – keeping our food animals and food supply healthy and safe.
Need to know which veterinarians and animals are included?
Check out Food Supply Veterinary Medicine – Data sources and terminology to learn more.
Want to learn more about FSVM in your state?