Rural veterinary services in Western Australia: Part A. Government veterinary services.Aust Vet J. 2008 Jan-Feb; 86(1-2):7-11.AV
To determine the status of rural veterinary services in Western Australia.
Two questionnaires were mailed to eligible, registered veterinary surgeons in Western Australia in 2006. The first was mailed to government veterinarians and the second to private practitioners in rural practice. Part A presents the replies from government veterinary officers and Part B the replies from rural practitioners. Replies were transferred to Microsoft Excel for analysis.
Sixty-seven per cent of government veterinary officers responded to the questionnaire. Eighty per cent of these had been in the service for 20 years or more and their average age was 54. Work with sheep and beef cattle occupied 75% of their time, with dairy cattle receiving 10% and pigs and poultry less than 10%. The majority of respondents reported changes in the attitude of farmers to the service as a result of rural recessions and the decision to make a direct charge for government veterinary services. Although most respondents thought that the government veterinary service would continue in the future there were differences of opinion as to what form that would take.
Government veterinary services in Western Australia are undergoing major changes, with the service decreasing in size and scope. Recently the Department of Agriculture has been renamed the Department of Agriculture and Food and it is likely that the role of its veterinary officers will change accordingly.