ANIMAL DISEASES AND VETERINARY SERVICES
Veterinary service to the farming industry is provided by the veterinary club system, by private practice, and by the Animal Industry, and Animal Research Divisions of the Department of Agriculture. Commercial organisations also employ a few veterinarians as advisers.
For many years before 1946 some farmer groups (usually the suppliers of a dairy factory) had retained salaried veterinarians. In 1946 the Veterinary Services Act set up a statutory body, the Veterinary Services Council, to promote and encourage an efficient veterinary service and to ensure the training and employment of enough veterinary surgeons. The Council of 13 members comprises representatives of the Government, farmers' veterinary clubs and associations, the New Zealand Dairy Production and Marketing Board, the Meat Producers' Board, the Wool Board, and the New Zealand Veterinary Association. Five of the members are veterinary surgeons. The funds of the Council are derived annually from the three boards represented on the Council, with a Government subsidy equal to the total sum paid by the contributing boards.
With the help of council subsidies as well as a generous bursary scheme for veterinary students, the introduction of overseas graduates, and the establishment of a superannuation scheme for veterinarians, the club system has developed into a movement comprising over 60 clubs or associations. It employs 200 veterinarians. It gives throughout the country an excellent and steadily expanding clinical service. Thus the veterinary club system, pioneered and developed in New Zealand, has provided the farmer with a reliable clinical service and given the veterinarians who serve it a secure employment.
Since the end of the Second World War the number of veterinarians in private practice has increased markedly to about a third of the total in New Zealand. Most private practitioners are engaged principally in the care and treatment of animals other than primary-producing livestock–that is, mainly with thoroughbreds and with small animals. But an increasing number are, however, serving the needs of farmers.