International Journal of
Livestock Production

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Livest. Prod.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2448
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJLP
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 287

Full Length Research Paper

The last of us? An online survey among German farm veterinarians about the future of veterinary training, livestock farming and the profession in general

Christian Dürnberger
  • Christian Dürnberger
  • Messerli Research Institute, Austria.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 31 March 2020
  •  Accepted: 19 May 2020
  •  Published: 30 June 2020


This online survey investigated how German farm veterinarians perceive the future of their profession. According to the participants, the following topics should play a greater role in veterinary training: Economics, herd health management, practical education, agricultural knowledge and animal welfare issues. The top answer indicates that knowledge about entrepreneurship is seen as a crucial competence of veterinarians. In regard to urgently needed changes in livestock farming, the participants recommend a general economic restructuring, a more fact-based public and political debate, an improved control system, improved training of farmers with a focus on animal welfare and a general critical questioning of performance optimisation. While the common literature focuses on reasons for distress, the survey identified factors for job satisfaction: German farm veterinarians recommend their job because of the variety of veterinary work, the contact with animal owners, the contact with animals, economic security, the importance of the work because it is about producing food and the possibility to work outdoors. At the same time, the survey identified a general dark mood when it comes to the future of the profession and livestock farming in general. Veterinarians see themselves as part of a world that is in decline.

Key words: Online survey, German farm veterinarians, veterinary ethics, food production, veterinary curriculum, animal welfare, veterinary education.