April 30 is World Veterinary Day: a day to celebrate veterinarians, their work and their impact. Although the importance of veterinarians is hardly a secret, people often forget that veterinarians’ work goes beyond clinical care of animals. USDA employs more veterinarians than any other department in the federal government, with positions located across the nation and associated territories. The breadth of roles that veterinarians fill at USDA illustrates their versatility. Veterinary epidemiologist, emergency responder, laboratory diagnostician, and public health veterinarian are just some of the roles that USDA veterinarians fill every day.
Resilience is the theme of this year’s World Veterinary Day. From USDA’s perspective, there could not be a more appropriate theme. From responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to inspecting livestock and poultry slaughter facilities to combating animal health threats like the recent detections of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, USDA veterinarians are on the frontlines protecting public health and animal health every day. Their contributions in both areas preserve an essential resource: a food supply that is both dependable and safe. As a nation, we can’t be resilient—in all senses of the word—without that.
Beyond ensuring a safe and dependable food supply, preparedness is key to staying resilient in the face of animal or human health threats. USDA works with state and tribal partners and other federal agencies in a collaborative effort known as One Health to protect animals, people, and the environment, which are all connected. The interplay of humans, animals, and the natural world affects diseases in animals and humans, and what we learn could help prevent or limit the next outbreak of diseases transmitted from animals to people, or even the next global pandemic. USDA veterinarians play a key role in the One Health approach.
USDA veterinarians protect Americans and their animals every day. They make sure our country has a safe and dependable food supply and is prepared for whatever animal or human diseases may come. If you love agriculture and public health and are dedicated to helping your nation, we encourage you to explore opportunities at USDA.