I've commented before on the shortage of agricultural animal veterinarians, and did so in a way that blurred the problems of rural mixed practice and the need for well-educated food supply veterinarians, which are not the same thing. No doubt I'll have more comments on those topics, in which I'll try to be clearer, ... but my purpose here is different.
Part and parcel of the question of what elements do we emphasize in educating food supply veterinarians is the question, what will the animal food supply system will look like in 10 years? 20 years?
I must admit that I do not have a fully satisfactory answer to the question, but I do think that the veterinary profession must be in the lead in providing the answer and the solutions to the issues raised. If this is to be, those of us in academic veterinary medicine will not only need to educate students well in current practices, but we also will need to give them a glimpse of possible futures while also imparting the skills and the confidence they need to help shape that future.
Because of the complexity of this issue, and my lack of a fully formed answer, I would be very interested in receiving comments from you as to what you think.
In the meantime, to get the ball rolling, I'll say this: I believe that whatever evolution occurs in agricultural animal food production in the next decade or two, one consistent element will be increased attention to animal welfare as regards housing, feeding, transportation, and humane slaughter systems that minimize stress and better allow animals to express more of their normal behaviors.
Why do I think that?