BC Liberals say veterinarians need long-term support

OPPOSITION Agriculture and Food Critic Ian Paton said on Monday he is pleased the NDP government is finally listening and has increased the number of subsidized training seats for veterinarians — but wonders how long the support will last.

“The  Opposition has been speaking out for a year about the shortage of veterinarians and the stress and burnout they are feeling as a result, so it’s nice to see the NDP finally taking some action,” said Paton, MLA for Delta South. “However, the announcement only mentions subsidizing students for the 2022-23 academic year. What happens beyond that? The government must remove this uncertainty and reassure veterinarians that long-term support will be there.”

Paton says veterinarians have been overwhelmed as they try to keep up with the demand for their services, which were already stretched thin before the pandemic when many more people adopted pets for comfort and companionship. Pet and livestock owners in urban and rural parts of the province continue to face challenges accessing care for their animals in a timely manner.