A vet from Manitoba sounds alarm: she thinks that funding cut of Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Sask can lead to reducing the number of veterinarians in local clinics.
Dr. Keri Hudson Reykdal is concerned about the situation as there is a shortage of veterinarians in Manitoba.
"That's certainly going to eliminate chances for people that are aspiring to be veterinarians — they're not going to be able to go to school," said Hudson Reykdal, a vet in Ashern, Man. "For the province in general, it just means that there's fewer and fewer vets that are available to take over positions as they're needed."
Dr. Douglas Freeman, the dean in the University of Saskatchewan, explained that the province currently allocates $100,000 per student per year, and in Western College of Veterinary Medicine 60 students from Manitoba are studying there according to the program. He also added that for about two years there has been a discussion of funding cuts.
"I think they're considering options, including … decreasing their student allotment," Freeman said. "I'm not aware of a firm number yet."
Dr. Keri Hudson Reykdal noted that in case of funding cuts, many students from Manitoba will not be able to get a good education since many colleges in other provinces are overcrowded and studying abroad is very expensive.
The provincial officials estimate that only 70% of students return to Manitoba for work after the college. However, Keri is confident that budget cuts will not increase this percentage, they will lead to a reduction in veterinarians in the province as a whole. Manitoba is already facing a great shortage of professionals in this field.
"Studies have shown that there is a large amount of the population that has pets, and not only that, the animal industry in Manitoba is one of the main industries that drives this economy," she said. "And if we lose veterinarians, those producers — you know, swine, poultry, beef, dairy — they're not going to have access to veterinarians and they need those to run a healthy, safe business."
A spokesperson for Manitoba Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen noted that at the moment no exact decision was made and the province will continue to cooperate with the college on the same terms.
"No decisions have been made with respect to funding for the college in the future,” he wrote in an email.