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Young Farmer Focus: Elizabeth Peni Brooks - 'Unpredictable animals are a big part of the job'

Elizabeth Peni Brooks, 17, is currently studying for her A-levels and hopes to study veterinary medicine. In the summer she spent a week with Farmers Guardian at the office in Preston.

Experience: I am hoping to become a vet and am currently studying for A-levels at sixth form.

 

The job of a vet has appealed to me for many reasons, however I am particularly interested in the ways veterinary medicine can help humans, as well as animals.

 

Whether it be helping companion animals, enforcing public health in an abattoir or assisting farmers and their livestock, the vet-client interaction is significant to me.

 

On the farming side, I have gained experience at five different establishments: an abattoir, a local dairy farm, an open dairy farm and – during lambing season – a Cumbrian riding centre with a farm adjoined and a hill farm in Rossendale.

 

I am very grateful to the farmers who have given up their time to show and teach me their trade. I have learned a lot and am especially aware of the time, effort and care they invest in their livestock and the enthusiasm they show for their way of life.

 

Placement: Despite several attempts, I have been unable to find a placement at a large animal veterinary practice.


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The surgeries I have applied to were all sympathetic but have refused my request because I am under 18 and due to their insurance policy conditions, they have had to turn me away.

 

Working with large and often unpredictable animals is a huge part of the job, and I understand the safety of work experience students is therefore taken into account.

 

Perhaps students could take their own insurance out for the duration of the placement?

 

Safety: This ties in nicely with Farm Safety Week, which was a hot topic in the Farmers Guardian offices during the time I spent there on work experience (July 15-19).

 

Although veterinary medicine is my current career aim, I am also interested in journalism, having enjoyed English as a subject from a young age.

 

My time at FG was very useful – I was interested to see how the use of media could effectively highlight current issues for farmers, enabling them to keep on top of news and their profession.

 

Bovine TB, lameness in cattle and the changing role of the vet in the farming industry, as well as the reduction in the number of dairy farms, have all come to my attention.

 

I hope my knowledge of these matters may help me in my future as a vet when working with farmers and their livestock.

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