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Reference Desk October 2011

Veterinarians On Call: New Reality Series Takes Viewers Inside America's Barns

    Talk About "Dirty Jobs", Five Cattle and Pig Veterinarians Show What It Takes to Care for Animals on the Farm

    OLD LYME, Conn., Oct. 7, 2011 -- You've seen veterinarians care for your dog or cat, have you seen one care for an injured 1,500-pound cow?

    Ever witness the birth of a piglet?  

    Did you know that the child movie star of the classic Willy Wonka devoted his career to caring for farm animals?  

    The work of farm vets is featured in the new reality series Veterinarians On Call, which premieres this fall on channel YouTube.com/VetsOnCall or YouTube.com/VeterinariansOnCall.

    The series captures vets in their day-to-day work on U.S. farms and ranches, working with client livestock farmers to raise healthy swine, beef and dairy animals. The Webisodes are produced by John Courtmanche and Dan Carey with Essex Television Group, the production company behind the Discovery TV series Chasing Classic Cars. Presented by Pfizer Animal Health, each Webisode features a vet making a farm visit to care for animals.

    "I am proud to explain that I wear several hats as a pig veterinarian including diagnostician, animal welfare advocate, and public health officer," says Dr. Paul Ruen of Fairmont, Minn., immediate past president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), one of five vets who volunteered to be featured in the series. "My hope is that the consumers of America's meat products will feel a bit more connected to the families and farms that work professionally and with care in raising food for their tables."

    Dr. Peter Ostrum, recognized by millions of movie fans as "Charlie" from the classic 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, has successfully transitioned from "candy man" to milk man and is practicing as a dairy cow veterinarian in upstate New York.

    "By participating in this project, I hoped to draw the public's attention to the hard working men and women who own and operate our country's family farms," says Dr. Ostrum. "Consumers must be made aware that food safety and animal welfare issues are top priorities for both veterinarians and dairy producers alike."

    Dr. Ostrum's clients range from farms with 4,000 cows to those with 30.  He says the main priority is the health and well being of their animals, explaining, "A happy, healthy cow translates to a safe product in the supermarket."  

    The first season of Veterinarians On Call also features three other veterinarians:

    • Dr. Ross Kiehne of St. Peter, Minnesota, alumnus of the University of Minnesota working as a pig veterinarian for 12 years throughout Minnesota and Iowa
    • Dr. Angie Supple of Algona, Iowa, self-proclaimed "city girl turned pig vet" with degrees from Notre Dame and Purdue Universities
    • Dr. Don Goodman, of Navasota, Texas, a 30-year cattle veterinarian with a degree from Texas A&M.  

    In addition to the five veterinarians, about 20 of their client farms volunteered to be filmed as well.

    Essex Television is a full-service media production and communications company based in Old Lyme, CT. Its award-winning HD broadcast division produces the popular TV series Chasing Classic Cars on Discovery and Discovery's HD Theater. For more information, visit www.essextelevision.com.

    Funding for this series is provided by Pfizer Animal Health, the nation's leading animal health company, as part of its Commitment to Veterinarians™ platform, which offers support to the veterinary industry through training and education, research and development, investing in the future of the profession, and philanthropy. For more information, please visit www.vets.pfizerah.com.

    Source: Essex Television Group, Inc.

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