IF THE veterinarians will not go to the country, then the Royal Agricultural Society will bring the country to the veterinarians.The chairman of the Royal Agricultural Society veterinary committee, Mark Schembri, has taken 45 final-year veterinary students from the University of Sydney to the Royal Easter Show to teach them rural veterinary science and encourage them to work in rural practices.”There would be nothing more embarrassing than being in a vet clinic and an owner brings you a dog and you have to ask what breed it is. I can recall stories of first-year veterinary students asking, ‘Is that a goat or a sheep?’ or, ‘Is that cow male or female?’ ” Dr Schembri said.”We bring the students out here where they can see every breed of dog, cow, horse, goat, sheep and pig in Australia. We teach them animal husbandry, animal anatomy and clinical science.”The shortage of rural veterinarians is worsening.The president of the Australian Veterinarian Association, Mark Lawrie, said plenty of graduates went to country areas but they rarely stayed long because of low pay, exacting work and isolation.After tending to horses with belly aches and sheep with nasty coughs at the Show, a final year student, Robbie Kent, planned to work in Scone next year.”Just getting to know the farmers has been fantastic and the large animals are really fun to work with,” Mr Kent said.A fellow student, Paul Jenkins, enjoyed working on ”people’s livelihood rather than their pets”.The Show finished yesterday.Rachel Olding