It’s Time to Talk About Race in the Equine Veterinary Profession
A veterinarian’s professional identity is often centered around empathy, compassion, kindness, and the ability to relate to both animal owners and animals to achieve the best results for the health of the animal patient. Consequently, these veterinarians may feel discomfort reconciling that compassionate self-identity with the need to engage in uncomfortable reflective introspection on how they relate to other humans in terms of race and ethnicity. As the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum in June 2020, I was moved to see that the few veterinarians of color I know began feeling comfortable voicing race-related concerns that have plagued them for years. What has been missing is a conversation about equine veterinary medicine and racial diversity, the barriers in the profession, and how they affect horse health.
Barriers to Entering the Profession
Significant roadblocks exist that prevent minorities from entering the equine veterinary profession. One is a lack of visible minorities in the profession. In my 15-year career as an equine veterinarian who has practiced in four states and two provinces, I have only encountered less than a handful of equine professionals that were people of color, and none of them looked like me.
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