The work of agricultural veterinarians is crucial to the South African economy. As the source of the nation’s food, the agricultural sector is arguably the most important one. Agricultural veterinarians look after the health of the country’s livestock, as well as their safety.
As the world celebrates World Vet Day today, Food For Mzansi spoke to veterinarian Dr Princess Moswa-Kato, an animal health specialist at MSD Animal Health, about what it is like to be a veterinarian in South Africa.
The theme for today’s celebrations is “Veterinarian response to the Covid-19 crisis”, commemorating the work done by veterinarians to protect animal and human health during the pandemic.
Nicole Ludolph: Let’s start with something more general. What wakes you up in the morning?
Dr Princess Moswa-Kato: I believe each day is a gift. I wake up every morning with new, refreshed energy for the blessings and new challenges of the day.
As a vet working in the agricultural sector, what do you think the biggest challenges are to agricultural veterinarians right now?
I think there are challenges for each vet each day. I can say the biggest challenge for a vet in the (pharmaceutical) industry is having (animal) owners that believe our products must work wonders and work immediately. Otherwise they do not believe they work.
“I thank God that I am a veterinarian.”
What advice would you give to aspiring veterinarians?
Let it be in your heart. Let it be a calling and never get into this industry expecting to be rich in money, but expect to be rich in the heart.
What do you think is the most important quality a veterinarian should have?
Strength. Not physical but emotional strength. We are the least appreciated of professions, by both our government and sometimes our clients.
What do you love best about your job?
The difference I make each day in a farmer’s life and of course the animals.
On World Vet Day today, we celebrate your profession. When you picture the ideal veterinary industry, a veterinary utopia, what does it look like to you?
I picture the future vet industry with more private-public programmes, where the youth of our country will understand that animal health is of great importance for both the human beings and the animal. I foresee better disease control in Zoonotic diseases, where the medical doctors and veterinarians can work together and let us have an awesome one-health supporting country.
I thank God that I am a veterinarian.