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Celebrating Alberta’s rural veterinarians

Provincial Press Release October 5, 2020 @ 2:35PM published at 4:16pm.

Oct. 4-10 is Animal Health Week, and Alberta’s government is taking the opportunity to thank rural veterinarians, who help keep Alberta’s farm animals healthy and happy by working with our ranchers and livestock producers.


Alberta has more cows than it does people – about 4.5 million head, which makes up more than 40 per cent of the national total. Veterinarians across the province work every day with ranchers and livestock producers to keep herds and flocks healthy.

Alberta’s agriculture industry is an essential part of our heritage and a crucial contributor to the economy. In 2019, provincial livestock market receipts were $6.9 billion – the highest on record, and up 6.5 per cent from 2018. The livestock industry wouldn’t be able to function without the hard work and dedication of the province’s veterinarians and veterinary technologists.

“It’s tough working with large animals or massive flocks in Alberta but rural vets work alongside our ranchers and producers to keep millions of animals healthy. Whether it’s pulling calves in the middle of winter, vaccinating or treating sick animals, vets are there for our producers and their animals. I hope everyone takes the time to thank a vet and show appreciation for their contribution to Alberta agriculture.” Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

This year has been challenging for livestock producers. COVID-19 affected their operations because related human resource and transport issues disrupted the supply chain. Alberta’s veterinarians and techs were there every step of the way, advising and ensuring producers had what they needed during difficult times.

“As a fellow veterinarian, I am extremely proud of the work that my colleagues in rural practices do on a daily basis to support our livestock producers in producing safe, high-quality food for Albertans and so many other parts of the world.” Dr. Keith Lehman, chief provincial veterinarian

Such an increasingly diverse industry requires a broad base of expertise, and our producers rely on veterinarians to keep them informed and keep their animals safe and healthy – from minor injuries to highly contagious diseases.

Rural veterinarians do more than prescribe medicine to keep animals safe and healthy – they advise on proper vaccination procedures, feeding and watering, disease prevention, sanitation and more.

“During Animal Health Week, ABVMA proudly celebrates Alberta's veterinary professionals, who are the best in the world. Especially in these challenging times, our professionals remain committed to our essential work with all Albertans, from our agricultural producers to those who are family pet owners, to ensure the best care and health outcomes for the animals and their owners. We value the relationships with our agricultural partners and the Government of Alberta as we work together to ensure a vibrant agricultural sector and healthy Alberta.” Dr. Kirsten Aarbo, president, Alberta Veterinary Medical Association

Quick facts

  • Animal Health Week is a national public awareness campaign organized by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and hosted by veterinarians across Canada.

  • There are more than 3,800 veterinarians and veterinarian technologists in Alberta, hundreds of whom support livestock producers.

  • Alberta is the largest cattle-producing province in Canada, with an estimated 4.5 million head as of Jan. 1, 2020 – just over 40 per cent of the national total.

  • Alberta is also the fourth-largest swine-producing province and a major producer of poultry and dairy products.

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