Workforce challenges and veterinary independence

The current lack of veterinary workforce experienced by many countries was clearly visible in Malta, host of the UEVP general assembly on 24 November. With around 160 veterinarians, Malta (316 sq km, pop 500,000) only has four large animal practitioners looking after 15,000 heads of cattle, 30,000 pigs and 14,000 small ruminants, reported Lino Vella (Malta), ‘so we clearly have a problem.’ The mainstay of Malta’s food animal production is tuna farming, he added –‘we catch them in the wild, then feed them before exporting them to Japan’ (29,000 tons per year) – and rabbits, with an annual production of 2.4 million. But Brexit has also had an impact on the profession, as veterinary medicines availability has become a challenge on the Mediterranean island. ‘We import all our drugs from the UK, as English labelling is mandatory…’

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