Poultry veterinarians should not only see themselves as “chicken mechanics”, but also as ambassadors for the animal breeding profession, said Alexander Strauch, veterinarian at the Herbruck poultry farm.
While participating in a panel discussion during the Animal Agriculture Alliance 2021 Virtual Stakeholder Summit on May 6, Strauch stated that veterinarians have a responsibility to care for more than just animals. Strauch said he was also a teacher every day, not just for people who work on Herbruck’s poultry farm and for the farmers whose birds he looks after, but also for people who are outside of the organization.
“People really want to know what I do, what my farmers do and where their food comes from,” he said. “The wish is there in order to know.”
Strauch added that people trust veterinarians to do the right thing and that they are receptive to what they have to say.
“I feel in a unique position to provide trustworthy, honest advice or facts with context and empathy,” said Strauch.
However, he said that being a good communicator may not necessarily be easy for everyone in the job.
“Some of us are very good at our technical skills and some of us are not the best speakers,” he said. “This is a journey we must all work on.”
And that journey can get easier the more vets work on it.
“Practice. It’s no accident when we practice what we’re going to say and work to refine it,” he said.
Strauch said the idea behind the practice is not that veterinarians can give “can answers” to those who ask questions, but that their answers are clear and precise.
Herbruck’s poultry farm is Michigan’s largest egg producer and the ninth largest egg company in the United States. This comes from the survey of the top egg companies, with a herd of 9.7 million chickens.