WINNIPEG — A three-person task force has been created in Manitoba to evaluate rural veterinary services.
The NDP government says the task force will consult with stakeholders and provide recommendations on how to enhance veterinary services for livestock and pet owners.
“Animal health and biosecurity are priorities shared by vets and our government, so we want to ensure appropriate services and infrastructure are available,” said Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn.
Dr. Paul Schneider, Bertha Russell-Langan and Merv Starzyk will lead the task force over the next six months.
Their priorities will be to:
- Hold a series of focus groups with producer associations, members of the veterinary community, the Association of Manitoba Municipalities and other stakeholders to determine focus areas for broader consultations;
- Ask Manitobans for input into the future of rural veterinary services through public meetings and an online consultation; survey current and recently graduated veterinary students;
- Review the current model of providing veterinary service in rural areas including financial statements and caseloads of each clinic; analyze provincial and municipal support provided for vets and veterinary clinics in the prairie provinces; and
- Make recommendations to the minister on how to ensure Manitoba’s rural veterinary services remain sustainable.
There are currently 145 veterinarians practicing in rural Manitoba. This is the first time the province’s veterinary service has been reviewed since 2007.
Recommendations made in the task force’s report are expected in January 2016.
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