WHEREAS the Alberta livestock industry and livestock numbers have grown significantly, and will continue to do so under Albertas economic trend to expand the production and feeding of livestock; AND WHEREAS this trend has necessitated increased need for larger animal and livestock veterinary services in rural areas; AND WHEREAS the Western Canada School of Veterinary Medicine accepts and graduates only 70 veterinary students annually;AND WHEREAS employment opportunities for graduating Veterinary students consistently exceed the number of available students, allowing them to choose their place of employment;AND WHEREAS it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract and retain veterinarians to rural mixed practices in Alberta;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to initiate a study to investigate the feasibility of federal and interprovincial funding and establishment of a School of Veterinary Medicine in Alberta.
There is no program offered in Alberta for veterinarian studies. Currently, through an interprovincial agreement with Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia, Alberta shares the costs of instruction of students enrolled in studies at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) in Saskatchewan. Albertas share of the 1998-99 instructional costs totaled $1,760,599. This support does not cover students individual needs. This is a 4-year program. Annual operating costs are $9 million, with a tuition fee of $5,000/year.Provincial student quotas are: B.C. 15Alberta 20Saskatchewan 20Manitoba 12Yukon/NWT 2Aboriginal 2The quotas were set when the first interprovincial agreement on the WCVM was penned and reflected the known manpower need for each of the western Canadian provinces at the time. Saskatchewan receives federal government support money for this program (dollar figure unavailable). With a program of this nature in Alberta, we should also be able to access federal funding.Albertas livestock statistics are:Cattle: 41% of Canadian herd67% of Canadian fed cattle5th largest cattle feeding area in North America4% increase from 1994-1998Hogs: 15% of Canadian herd6% increase from 1994-1998Recent employment opportunities consistently exceed the number of graduates available; they can pick and choose their employment in a buyer’s market. Further, there is no way of determining what stream of practice a graduate will go into (i.e. small animal, mixed, equine, etc.) as they all graduate from the same program.