THE veterinary industry is valued at about RM6bil or 6.2% of the nation’s economy. Little wonder then that veterinary medicine is becoming increasingly popular as a career option among school leavers.
In order to provide students with a holistic view of veterinary medicine and to promote responsible pet ownership, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) recently organised a “Be a vet” day.
About 200 students and teachers from five secondary schools in the Klang Valley filled UPM’s lecture theatre to listen to a series of talks and presentations about the industry. The students were also taken on a tour of the faculty.
The half-day programme was jointly organised by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Malaysian Small Animal Veterinary Association (MSAVA), UPM’s Veterinary Medicine Faculty and makers of Pedigree and Whiskas pet food Effem Foods Malaysia.
The schools which participated included SMK Victoria, SMK (L) La Salle Petaling Jaya, SMK (P) Methodist, SMK Bandar Baru Sri Petaling, and SMK Sri Saujana.
Effem Foods Malaysia country manager Chan Chow Keong, its technical service manager Dr Susan Wan and MSAVA president Dr P. Vanaja were present to share their experiences.
UPM’s Veterinary Medicine Faculty’s lecturer Dr Goh Yong Meng also talked about becoming a vet and building a career in this area in academia.
“The veterinary industry provides the nation with food, security and job opportunities, and is the main driving force behind the new biotechnology-based economy,” Dr Goh said.
“However, despite the importance of veterinary medicine as a field of study, there are fewer than 1,000 registered veterinarians in Malaysia,” he added.
“The industry is definitely in need of more vets. In fact, we have so few vets that membership to the vet fraternity can be viewed as more exclusive than some of our more prestigious golf clubs,” he said.
“It is important for a veterinarian to have a natural love for animals,” advised Dr P. Vanaja who shared insights on professional practice.
Chan highlighted Effem Foods Malaysia's involvement in the programme.
“As a company that cares about animals, we have always played a key role in fostering the special relationship between people and pets.
“The field of veterinary medicine is intrinsically linked with the care of pets. Our participation in this programme is part of our efforts to communicate the value of this field of study,” said Chan
The “Be a vet” day was a huge success with the participants.
“It gave the students an idea of what veterinary medicine is all about and provided them with guidelines and career options,” said SMK Sri Saujana’s biology teacher Thamarai Letchumy.
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