S. 1053, the Veterinary Services Investment Act will establish a competitive grant program to develop, implement and sustain necessary veterinary medical services to those areas of the country in need.
"Veterinary care shortages, particularly in rural areas, can pose security risks for food safety, animal health and public health. This legislation would help alleviate those shortages by awarding grants to support growth in areas where veterinary services are most needed," said U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). "It is written to create incentives for veterinary schools and their students to work in underserved areas that currently lack important access to animal health care."
According to the AVMA, there are 500 counties in the U.S. that have at least 5,000 farm animals but no veterinarians in the area to treat them.
"The demand for veterinarians across the United States could increase by 14 percent by 2016," said Dr. Kornegay. "This shortage not only affects the well-being of farmers and livestock but can have negative public health consequences."