Organic farming: where are the vets?

An unexpected aspect of the growth in popularity of organic farming has revealed a lack of vets trained to treat organically farmed animals. This shortage was highlighted recently in the US, and has also been recognised in the UK. With growing public concern about intensively farmed animals, and a rise in demand for organically grown meat, similar challenges could soon face Australia’s organic farmers should their animals require veterinary treatment.

The results of a survey conducted in the US recently, that looked at the issue of veterinary care for organic producers, revealed herd health presented few challenges for most farmers, since they were generally able to handle most health problems themselves without consulting a vet.

The study was led by Jenny O’Neill, an Iowa State University graduate student in sustainable agriculture, and participants in the survey involved members of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association who work with food animals, and organic livestock producers certified by the US Department of Agriculture. Continue reading Organic farming: where are the vets?