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Wednesday
Nov142012

Taking a Break

Honorable Mention, Creative Corner
Josh Li, University of Illinois



Tuesday
Nov132012

On voting

Winner, Life as a Vet Student
Tiffany Beck, Mississippi State University

American and Traitor.  These are not two words commonly employed in the same breath in this country. Yet over 236 years ago, this allegation became a harsh reality for 56 Americans with a mere brush of the pen.  By signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, a company of highly esteemed and well-educated citizens pledged “[their] Lives, [their] Fortunes, and [their] sacred Honor”1 for the establishment of an independent, separate Nation.  Their promises to this freshly conceived country were not empty.  Nine of the 56 signers died during the American Revolution and never tasted national freedom.  The British captured and tortured five signers, and the homes and lands of many more (17) were ransacked and burned.  But how does this dabbling in colonial history relate to deciding on a candidate for the Office of the President of the United States nearly 250 years later? 

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Monday
Nov122012

Bacon

 Winner, Creative Corner
Brendan Batt, Louisiana State University 

There are times in life when it is best to fight your tears, and times when you must let them flow. We carried him in an ice chest from my truck through the house into the back yard, just as we had carried him from the mudboat to the truck, burning with remorse laden with pain; our minds still scorched by the horrible images to which we had paid witness. We sunk shovels into the hard earthen clay. Despite our efforts the digging was slow. It was important to go deep, at least four feet. My throat swelled and took off my shirt striking violently at the walls of the hole beneath me. Tears welled again in my eyes and streamed down my face. My brother’s face was stoic and unchanging, but equally hurt. He seemed to be reflecting on thoughts I was incapable of conjuring in my current state of emotion. I stared up at the sun squinting, clenching my jaws in despair.
 
“Is it our fault?” My brother questioned as he rested his weight upon the handle of the shovel, his head facing down into the grave. His eyes wandered to the ice chest.
 
“No. But there will never be another one like him.”
 
“Best dog ever.”
 
We continued in silence. Sweat mixed with tears and dirt, and in our heads the pain fused with remorse and heartache. When the grave was deep enough we both stared at each other and at the hole. My mother watched from the back porch. Tears had muddled her face.
 
“It’s deep enough.”
 
I walked over to the ice chest and motioned my mom to go inside. My tormented face was enough for her to know she would not want to see this. I flipped the lid back and gently grabbed him under the rib cage, wrapped in my bloody hunting jacket, his cold entrails stuck to my arm. Blood and water dripped from the towel down my chest, collecting in a brown stain on my pants. My brother rushed to help me. We laid him in the hole, his dry tongue hanging out of his mouth, eyes closed. His rich, black fur was caked with blood and dirt. There was nothing of my friend left in the corpse we now laid into the ground. His hind leg distorted, hanging on by tendons, showed bone at the corner of his resting place. I placed a clean towel over his body. My brother began to lay his favorite things beside the body. A training dummy from when he was a puppy, a few of his favorite objects to chew on, some duck wings from the freezer for training, and a Canvasback drake, the king of all waterfowl; we had frozen the bird with the intention of mounting it in the living room, its plumage was immaculate. The beautiful specimen would have looked gorgeous on the wall, but it served its purpose far greater in the tomb of our great friend. A final parting gift. 
 
At this point tears flowed freely from both our faces. We sobbed like children and embraced each other.
 
“ It’s just too goddamn much, I don’t get it….We should have known better.”
 
“Maybe.”

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Sunday
Nov112012

A Growing Problem: Too Many Veterinarians

Winner, Forum
Shira Rubin, Cornell University 

Forum: "There are proposals/plans for new veterinary education programs in several places including Utah, Arizona, and New York.  There is still controversy over whether there is a shortage or excess of veterinarians to fill the workplace demands.  Weigh in with your opinions, comments, or suggested solutions."

 

There is ample evidence that there are going to be more veterinarians than jobs for veterinarians in the U.S. in the near future.  With plans for four new veterinary schools in the United States underway or in existence and class sizes increasing at many exisiting US veterinary schools, the number of graduating veterinarians is set to rise, perhaps dramatically.  Combined with the recent American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accreditation of several overseas veterinary schools and expanding class sizes at Caribbean veterinary schools, this could quickly become a crisis for the American veterinary profession.

 

 
Although the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) contends that there will be a shortage of 15,000 veterinarians by 2025, there is little evidence to support such a claim.  In fact, there may be too many veterinarians already, especially in small animal practice.  One indication that the supply for veterinarians has outpaced demand are the results of  the annual survey of employment, starting salaries and educational indebtedness of new graduates from U.S. veterinary medical colleges published by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA).  Their reports show that since 2010 new graduates have been receiving significantly fewer job offers and the starting salaries of new graduates have gone down.  Even the oft-touted claim that there is a shortage of large animal veterinarians has recently been challenged.  The Association of American Bovine Practitioners (AABP) released a statement in 2011 that, "Continuing to increase the number of veterinarians interested in serving rural areas will not solve this problem. In fact, creating an ‘over supply’ of food-supply veterinarians will lead to widespread unemployment or underemployment of food-supply private practitioners and will have a significant detrimental effect on salaries for all veterinarians."
 
So what are the motivations behind the founding of these new veterinary schools?  And who stands to profit from them?  
 
1.  The developers for the proposed veterinary school in Buffalo, NY won a contest to renovate an abandoned human hospital.   If all goes according to plan, as many as 600 students may be enrolled at the campus within 3-5 years.

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Friday
Nov092012

Support for Discrimination and Marginalization? Not Surprising

Op Ed
Sonia Fang, Western University
 
On March 14, dvm360.com posted an article entitled “Minority students report strong support from veterinary schools, but racism and sexism remain, study says”.  The article provided preliminary results from the Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) climate study conducted by Lisa Greenhill (Associate Executive Director for Institutional Research and Diversity at the AAVMC).  Some of the results included that one in five female veterinary students reported hearing sexist language at their school, and LGBT students reported they did not have a faculty or staff member to confide in at higher rates than those students who did not identify as LGBT.  In response to the article, DVM NewsMagazine published a letter from Dr. Larry Fisher of Topeka, Kansas.
 

I was disappointed and disturbed by the letter printed in DVM NewsMagazine.  On a purely factual level, the statements leveled against LGBT students are not founded in current historical analysis, and the myth that homosexuality has lead to society’s decline has been debunked repeatedly.[1]  Not to mention, even if there were civilizations for which an increase in homosexual activity coincided with a society’s purported decline, there would still be the classic issue of confusing correlation with causation, a definite and basic no-no in evidence-based research.  There isn’t evidence for homosexuality correlating with the destruction of civilizations, much less any research performed demonstrating its causation. 
 
Regardless of the factual inaccuracies, I was taken aback because the printing of this letter was, in itself, telling of the problems that we as LGBT veterinary students face on a systemic level.

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