Farmers in the Outaouais have launched a petition to try to keep one of the only veterinarians specializing in horses in the area, who can no longer practice because she does not speak enough French.
“It doesn’t make sense, it’s nonsense. We are in flagrant lack of veterinarians, ”says Chantal Chrétien, the instigator of the petition.
Mme Chrétien, like other breeders in the Pontiac region, in the Outaouais, are worried since they no longer have a veterinarian to take care of their animals for a few days.
The region’s only equestrian veterinarian decided to leave the practice because she was unable to obtain a permanent veterinary license because she did not meet Quebec’s language requirements.
The petition, which was launched when Chantal Chrétien learned the news of Melissa Jowett’s departure, had collected more than 5,600 signatures on Monday.
“In the Pontiac, people knew his French wasn’t cutting edge. But people hired him the same way, because it was for the animals,” says Ms.me Christian.
The DD Jowett emigrated from the UK and had worked as a veterinarian for four years in this predominantly English-speaking region.
However, this is the maximum time during which she can practice without a permanent permit, which requires a minimum knowledge of French as required by the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF).
“No provision allows the Office to exempt a candidate from passing the French exam,” says the OQLF by email.
” I was very sad [lorsque j’ai appris la nouvelle]. It makes a difference not having someone around for emergencies. Not having someone to call is a concern,” laments Andrea Goffart, owner of four horses.
Cheval Québec, which brings together the various players in the equestrian industry, has received several calls from worried breeders.
“There is certainly a way to find solutions rather than withdrawing her right to practice, such as providing her with a bilingual technician,” suggests Ève-Marie Frappier, executive director of the organization.
“Yes, the French language should be protected. But currently, we are facing a particular situation where the temporary license is expiring in the context of a significant shortage of veterinarians. For us, losing a limb is a lot,” says Gaston Rioux, president of the Order of Veterinary Physicians of Quebec (OMVQ).
The OMVQ is currently studying the file to see if other options can be found in this exceptional situation.
“I sincerely hope that the rules can be changed to encourage vets to work in an area that is largely undercovered,” said Dr.D Jowett in a statement obtained by The newspaper.
The shortage of veterinarians has been decried for a few months already in the province. It would even have caused the death of animals in the Outaouais, according to Cheval Québec.
“It’s a critical situation,” says Ève-Marie Frappier.
The Outaouais currently has 126 veterinarians, of whom only nine specialize in the equine field, according to OMVQ data.
Specifically, “in the Pontiac, there is a need for practice in large animals. It is a vast territory, less densely populated than in other regions,” says Dr.r Rioux.