Saturday, December 9, 2023
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HomeBeef‘The industry needs good farm vets, so we need to teach them’
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

‘The industry needs good farm vets, so we need to teach them’

Connor Fettes tells That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, about his new website, Vet EMS Reviews.  

He began by telling us about his background in veterinary medicine and how his studies inspired the creation of his website.

“I did an undergraduate in Bioveterinary Science at Harper Adams University in Shropshire and then applied for veterinary medicine after my undergraduate. I

Then, I started veterinary medicine in 2020, and I am now in my third year. I have a passion for farm animals and like working with farmers, as I have worked on farms for many years.

Also, I run a small flock of ewes around my degree. Although all areas of the degree are interesting, I prefer large animals. The course, as expected, is very intense and full-on, but I like it.

We are moving into clinical years now, so putting what we know (or do not know) into practice and are also working/shadowing vets in practice with real cases.

VET EMS Review website 

The new Vet EMS website is essentially a website where vet students can search for placements.

We need to carry out so many weeks pre-clinical (husbandry/farms) and clinical (with vets) to satisfy the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons requirements.

However, it can sometimes be hard to find the placements we need.

For example, we need to go lambing, milking, pig farms, beef units, poultry units, equine yards etc.

These pre-clinical placements give us an insight into the basic workings of the farm, animal husbandry (bedding, tail docking), nutrition and standards of practice.

How does it work? 

The independent website was set up in 2022; however, it has only just been launched, as we are now looking for placements to be added to the database.

The website allows farmers, who want to accept vet students of all sectors, to be added with basic details of location, sector (dairy, pigs), contact details etc., so students can see placements that will accept students.

Along with this, there is an interactive map so we can see where placements are compared to our location for travelling distances.

There is also a section that can be ticked to say if the placement offers accommodation (commonly, lambing does).

So, essentially, it is a vet students database (members, although it is free) where, in one place, we can find placements.


The aim is to be independent, interactive and supportive.

  • Independent – Provide independent reviews of placements to aid students in choosing the EMS providers.
  • Support – Include extra EMS support and resources to help students prepare for EMS by reading what others have gained from specific placements;
  • Interactive – Provide an interactive map to aid students on the locations of placement providers.

We are looking for any animal sectors in agriculture who would like to or currently have vet students to add themselves to the database.

This is easily done by emailing [email protected]. They will be emailed back with a few basic questions, and we can add them.

The husbandry placements are so important for basic skills and communication.

So any That’s Farming readers who would like students, please email in or farms, stables and any vets who would like their veterinary practice added into the clinical section.

The industry wants and needs good farm vets, so we need to teach them.

There is no national EMS database; this is one of a kind, and it will be so beneficial to all vet students. We just need to grow the database to create as many placements on there as possible.

It is difficult to find placements that suit, so having them in one place and having an interactive map where we can see the travelling distance, ect, is really beneficial, as our placements can be costly in travelling.

Also, students have the opportunity to leave a review on the placement, so other students know what to expect. E.g. the farm set up (1000 indoor lambing), expected working hours, meals provided, local transport links, accommodation, parking etc.?

This will allow other students reading it to know what to expect and know if the placement would suit them.

All reviews are moderated and manually approved, so only useful reviews are added.

See the website via this link.”

To share your story, email – [email protected]

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