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Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 1 August 1918, page 5

STOCK INSPECTORS.

Professor J. D. Stewart, Sydney University (late Chief Inspector of Stock), writes:—In a report published of the proceedings at the recent Farmers' Conference, a delegate is stated to have asserted that "some of the stock Inspectors know no more about diseases in stock than a dog did about his father." To allow this assertion to pass without comment would be unfair to a body of deserving public servants whose exact position in relation to veterinary science is not understood by many stockowners. It would appear that there is a fairly widespread impression that stock Inspectors have passed a special examination in veterinary science, and are almost, if not quite, as well equipped in knowledge for the general practice of veterinary science as a qualified veterinary surgeon, and should, therefore, be able to diagnose and treat all and sundry ailments of animals. While it is true that a stock inspector must possess some veterinary knowledge to pass the examination which governs his appointment, this requirement is but a small portion of all that is prescribed, and the knowledge demanded is of an elementary nature, relating chiefly to the suppression of infectious and contagious diseases of animals. Many of these officers, however, have had wide and varied experience in animal husbandry, and are recognised as men of sound judgment in matters connected with the pastoral industry. Consequently they are capable of much useful service to stock owners. But as they have not had the advantages of systematic instruction and training in the various subjects that comprise the curriculum for qualification in veterinary science, it should be recognised without any reflection upon their services that limitations must exist as to their veterinary knowledge. It is therefore unreasonable for stockowners to expect from them that which only qualified veterinarians are capable of rendering. Attached to the stock branch, Department of Agriculture, is a staff of qualified veterinary surgeons, the benefit of whose advice and counsel is available to stock Inspectors upon application to their chief, who is also a qualified veterinary surgeon. It is, in fact, the routine procedure for the Inspectors to report upon the occurrence of disease in stock to the Chief Inspector, and be advised as to any further action deemed necessary. The interests of the stockowners are, in this manner, safeguarded. It is therefore obvious that the assertion of the delegate referred to does not correctly indicate the true position of stock Inspectors. In relation to veterinary science. Stock inspectors have multifarious duties, and their veterinary knowledge is sufficient to carry out all that is officially required of them.

 


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