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Updated: August 29, 2012 18:09 IST

Huge shortage of veterinarians in Tamil Nadu

P. Oppili
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Increasing demand is being met by starting new veterinary colleges

There is a huge shortage of veterinarians in the State, with the 45per cent gap between demand and availability being the highest in the field of health care and treatment for livestock and poultry.

The increasing demand is being met by starting new veterinary colleges, say the Veterinary and Animal Sciences University authorities.

According to them, as per the norms fixed by the XII Plan of the Government of India Working Group, 1,031 veterinarians were required for the 51.54 lakh indigenous cattle units in the State.

For the cross-bred cattle totalling 1.47 crore the units require 2,953 vets in the State. For buffaloes numbering 40.18 lakh, 804 vets were required.

According to K.N. Selvakumar, Professor and Head of the Animal Husbandry Economics, Madras Veterinary College, the Sstate’s total veterinarians’ requirement was 5,406, which is calculated based on the cattle population.

R. Prabakaran, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, said the 45 per cent shortage in the number of veterinarians was only in providing direct treatment and health services to livestock and poultry. The services of the veterinarians are also required in teaching institutions, research laboratories to diagnose occurrence of infectious diseases and to develop vaccines for livestock and poultry; to develop new combination for drugs; poultry and livestock feed manufacturing and for livestock credit institutions to provide insurance cover to the animals.

Dr. Prabakaran said nationwide, 95,000 vets were required, of which only 45,000 vets were actively involved in the profession. Similarly, the annual requirement of veterinarians in the livestock and poultry health care sector alone is 4,000, of which only 1,900 pass out of the 42 veterinary colleges in the country. He said that in order to increase the vet population in the primary health care sector, the State had announced starting of two more veterinary colleges.

Dr. Selvakumar said currently the State Animal Husbandry Department had 2,734 veterinarians and another 206 work in the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers Federation. The State government’s scheme to distribute 60,000 free milch cows in the rural areas in the next five years and another four goats/sheep to seven lakh poor families in the rural areas requires additional veterinary man power.

P. Sellamuthu, a farm owner near Guduvanchery, says that in the modern-day context it would be very difficult to rear cattle without the help of veterinarians. “We come from a farming family, and my father used to have traditional knowledge about cattle. But, today the traditional knowledge has been lost and we are invariably dependent on veterinarians for any treatment,” he says.

Disagreeing with the idea that there was a shortage of vets, B. Chandramouli, who owns a cattle farm at Padappai, says the health care needs of the cattle population were being fulfilled, thanks to additional help from retired veterinarians. “They help the small cattle owners with vast experience. In my opinion, the present-day vets need more field exposure.”

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