John U. Thomson told hundreds of cattle veterinarians and veterinary students that they need to provide veterinary care and education in ways that satisfy societal needs, or they will be replaced.

The dean at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine is particularly concerned that veterinarians have not generated data that demonstrate the profession's importance to protecting the food supply. Without the use of outcomes-based medicine to collect that evidence, he thinks society will meet its needs through other means, as exemplified by a law passed earlier this year that allows non-veterinarians in Oklahoma to perform many livestock care practices by classifying them as husbandry.

In speeches, educational sessions and group discussions, many of the livestock veterinarians who attended the combined Annual Conference of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants Summer Meeting showed concern about the need to maintain or explain veterinarians' relevance in beef and milk production.

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