A paucity of food animal veterinarians in rural areas could adversely impact food safety and public health because these professionals work on the front lines of zoonotic illnesses. According to the AVMA, 17% of veterinarians are working in food animal medicine, and the nationwide shortage is expected to worsen. Long hours, the difficulty of paying off educational debt and smaller rural populations are some of the factors behind the shortage, but those in the field say veterinarians who choose food animal medicine do so because they love the lifestyle and rural America.

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