Saturday, April 25th was World Veterinary Day, celebrating the contributions veterinarians have made to society. The 2009 theme was “Veterinarians and Livestock Farmers, a Winning Partnership.” Livestock veterinarians care for food and fiber producing animals and are responsible not only for the health of those animals but the safety of our food supply as well.
Although this year World Veterinary Day focused on the livestock facet of veterinary medicine, the profession has much more to offer its members and society as a whole. The diversity of career options is endless. Veterinarians provide healthcare for dogs and cats and livestock, but also laboratory and zoo animals. There are shortages of food animal veterinarians and veterinarians involved in research. The government employs veterinarians who protect the food supply and protect humans and our animal companions from infectious diseases. Some veterinarians are teachers who train the next generation of animal caregivers.
Society recognizes the importance of veterinarians and ranks veterinary medicine as one of the most respected professions. Seventy one percent of respondents to a 2006 Gallup poll ranked veterinarians as having a high or very high regard for honesty and ethical standards. Members of the veterinary profession find it a satisfying profession. A member survey sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association, found veterinarians scored 3.55 in job satisfaction. This data was compared to similar data on job satisfaction from the Nation Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, where clergy scored 3.79, teachers 3.61 and physicians 3.47. Overall, for all surveyed professions, the average score was 3.33 which places veterinarians well above average in happiness and job satisfaction.
So why is being a veterinarian such a great job? Maybe it’s the unlimited opportunities the profession offers. But a recent study published in the British Medical Journal suggests another reason. This study found that happiness is contagious. This phenomenon of “social network contagion” may be reflected in the veterinary profession where one happy and satisfied veterinarian befriends a co-worker and spreads his/her good mood to colleagues.
Whatever the reason, shortly after children go through the “I want to be a policeman” phase, they go through the “I want to be a veterinarian” phase. Perhaps because we all find the idea of helping sick animals so appealing. Which one of us didn’t want to save that baby squirrel using a doll bottle or hand raise the fledgling robin in a shoebox? Some of us never got out of that phase and are very happy we didn’t.
Happy World Veterinary Day to all!
For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal healthcare, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org.