Career simply represents the goal or individual pursuit for leading a life in any sector for earning daily bread and butter. Contribution of agriculture and allied sectors like animal husbandry and fisheries was 17.8% in 2007-08 and 17.1% in 2008-09 showing its continuing trend of declination. The declination is mostly due to stabilization or decline of agriculture sector. However, 4-5% annual growth rate of animal husbandry and fisheries compensates the loss. In terms of minimum support prices and returns from all the above sectors the policy of Government plays a major role in this flip-flop show of contribution from all these sectors. In reality, the actual contribution could be far more if proper remuneration would be given to the farmers, livestock keepers and fishermen. Inspite of so many bottlenecks, this has not affected growth of livestock sector which has showed promising growth annually contributing about Rs. 2, 40,601 crore (4.43%) to Indian GDP in 2007-08.
Rich livestock population
India is endowed with the largest and most promising livestock and poultry population in the world comprising of 57% of world’s buffalo population and 14% of cattle population. India ranks first in buffalo population, second in cattle and goats, third in sheep, fourth in ducks, fifth in chickens and sixth in camel population in the world. Thus, the livestock supports agricultural labourers, small and marginal farmers, rural women folk, agro based industries, dairy products, milk plants, fertilizers and pesticides, skin and wool products etc. Thus, if the unexplored potential of the large Indian livestock can be brought into light, the economy of the beneficiaries can be strengthened thereby boosting Indian economy.
Placement opportunities for veterinarians
Veterinarians contribute a silent role in development and maintenance of livestock population, their healthcare, production and reproduction potential. Now-a-days in addition to traditional opportunities many recent placement sectors have been opened due to rapid growing of economy and global emergence of zoonoses.
Health care: It is still the primary occupation and aim for most of the veterinarians. This sector is still neglected in terms of proper healthcare provision to the livestock in India due to lack of proper trained manpower, infrastructure and basic political willpower. Slowly healthcare sector is luring talented professionals particularly in cities for pets and in certain areas for ruminants.
Animal Husbandry: It should be underscored that, for the harmonic development of veterinary profession, it is the animal husbandry sector, which provides a basic livelihood for the poor farmers and livestock keepers, has to be strengthened. Veterinarians play active role in animal husbandry sector and are employed in different governmental organizations like organized farms, KVKs, policy making bodies, NGOs, banking and private sectors. Breeding sector is expanding due to increase in number of high yielding cows and buffaloes. Recently it has been realized by the experts that upgrading of our livestock by crossing with own better breeds is more sustainable and feasible in the long run maintaining vigor and viability than crossbreeding with exotic breeds. So veterinarians can solve this problem with proper in-depth look into the topic and doing appropriate upgrading of livestock and maintaining indigenous breeds.
Dairying: Slowly dairying sector has become a lure for veterinarians either as a technical staff, managemental staff or as healthcare professional taking care of animals for the betterment of the society and to teach good hygiene practices for clean milk production in both co-operatives and govt. sectors.
Teaching and Research: Research is the foundation stone of any sector used to thrive and move ahead with a double edged sword, one edge of which points towards the future, to explore the future possibilities and the other reflecting the present. Teaching and research sectors are in demand for government and private institutions for development of manpower and resources. The research sector is on rise due to emerging zoonoses like avian influenza, swine flu. However, these zoonoses have the possibility to become dreaded global pandemic (spreading in both direction) killing millions of people. Vets will be of great demand both for understanding the disease process, development of curative measures and vaccine development. Currently OFFFLU network is concerned with connecting resources for understanding current developments all over the world. The vaccine development also became easy as research on similar strains of swine flu had already done and characterization of virus and their genome had already been done. Development of vaccines and medicines pose a definite scope for young veterinarians as they can contribute up to a large extent into these sectors. Recently various pharmaceutical companies have shown interest in appointing veterinarians.
Animal Biotechnology: Emergence of biotechnology sector as the most expanding sector has brought more promise for veterinarians as their involvement can lead to the rapid development of stem cell research, cloning, genetically engineered products and other services.
Livestock conservation: Argentina and Brazil have developed and maintaining the pure breeds of Ongole and Nellore cattle which are difficult to be found as pure bred in their home tract, India, due to our improper management and breeding policies. As livestock diversity conservation can be a boon in the long run it will get more attention in future.
Animal Nutrition: Animal nutrition sector has tremendous potential for animal nutritionists for proper nutrient formulation for balanced feed and advising the farmers about feeding practices for optimum production performance of animals. Scarcity of concentrate feed supply arises the need for better feeding and management practices with proper advice to the farmers. Proper feeding and management practice can improve the production to a very large extent. Though we cannot supply concentrates and high quality fodder to our livestock, judicious utilization of available resources can also show miracle in production status.
Food Safety, quality control, public health and control of emerging zoonoses: As animal products and byproduct consumption is on increase the food safety aspect is slowly given importance which will improve invariably within a very short time as clean development mechanisms are getting focus for export and own consumption purpose. The emergence zoonoses (avian influenza, swine flu) are also strengthening the need for food safety and public health measures. Specialists will be needed in these sectors involving knowledge about current prevailing zoonoses and emerging zoonoses. Currently Q fever is emerging zoonoses affecting the human population and animals. Thus, this sector can be a good career option. The fast growing feed, animal products, pharmaceuticals and healthcare industries need regular quality control check for efficacy of their products and services. In airports and certain other check points in time of zoonoses quarantine procedure has to be enacted where veterinarians may be required.
Food processing and value added products: As ready-to-cook and processed animal and dairy products consumption is on increase, this sector has shown potential for employment with good perk. The value added products fetch good return both for the producer and the farmer. Thus as these sectors will grow further like European countries due to change in food habit employment prospects will improve.
Wildlife feeding, care and management: Due to continuous pressure from animal rights activists the wildlife is now getting attention and for proper feeding, healthcare and day to day management practices skilled and trained wildlife expert veterinarians will be required.
Marketing, Management sectors and Entrepreneurship: Veterinarians requirement is on rise in management sectors due to the growth of Agri-business sector which is in its infancy. Thus it has tremendous potential to recruit veterinarians in marketing of livestock products and services and management of livestock farms, co-operatives, dairies, slaughter houses, army stables, military dairy farms, banking sector etc. Marketing of feed, vaccines, medicines, other pharmaceuticals also require vets both as marketing and management professionals. Now-a-days private entrepreneurship is also increasing due to value addition of dairy and livestock products.
Livestock Insurance and Banking sector: As we have no control over future unforeseen events, livestock insurance is getting momentum after being introduced in 2005. This will get momentum and expand even more in future as animals are now becoming costlier with improvement of production status. Bank’s flexibility of loan for farming, dairying, livestock and other product purchasing is increasing day by day. Thus, they are continuously in need of vets.
Veterinarians are playing active role in various poverty alleviation programmes and rural development programmes (water-shed development programmes) either in collaboration with the government or different NGOs like ATMA, Heifer International, BAIF, SAHAJ, PRADAN etc. vets are really needed in these sectors for efficient implementation of these programmes and upliftment of rural economy.
Taking a note of all the sectors it can be realized that there is a lot of space for the actual improvement of vets and veterinary profession. However, proper and highly skilled manpower is lacking in many of the above sectors. So it’s a high time to improve the profession with the hands of highly demanding intellects and honed brains for the service of the poor farmers at the least and betterment of the society at the best. And for the really skilled vets there will be no dearth of job opportunities.