April 2017
Motohiro Horiuchi
Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine

 

Aiming to Produce Veterinarians and Veterinary Scientists who Work Globally

 

Hokkaido University's School of Veterinary Medicine began in 1910 as the Laboratory of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Livestock Science at the Agricultural College of Tohoku Imperial University, and became the Department of Veterinary Medicine in 1949 and then the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1952. The school has produced more than 2,500 graduates since 1955.
Most students aiming to enter the School of Veterinary Medicine seem to like animals or hope to cure the diseases of animals, especially pets. Maintaining the good health of pets through the diagnosis and treatment of animal disease to make the owner feel at ease is an important mission of veterinary medicine. However, veterinary medicine has a wide variety of missions. One of the major missions of veterinary medicine is to take responsibility for maintaining the health of all animals on the earth, including pets, food-producing animals (production of animal proteins), wild animals and humans, and the health of the ecosystem comprised of these animals. Accordingly, veterinarians are also expected to improve the productivity of livestock products and secure their safety by enhancing feed management technology for food-producing animals, conserve the ecosystem through the protection of wild animals and other measures, prevent the occurrence of zoonosis, which is transmitted from animals to humans, and promote public health such as food hygiene. Veterinary medicine is part of life science and plays an important role in the analysis of life phenomena and the development of pharmaceutical products.
Veterinarians are also expected to engage in global activities. The development of traffic networks and transportation means has facilitated the movement of people, animals and livestock products beyond national boundaries. In this situation, there are numerous issues that should be tackled in an international framework, such as the securement of the safety of livestock products to be imported and exported, the control of highly pathogenic avian influenza, foot-and-mouth disease and other transboundary zoonoses that cause major socioeconomic damage, and response to zoonoses that occur regardless of national boundaries. Against this background, there is demand for the development of international-level veterinarians. Japan is no exception, and the development of internationally competent veterinarians through world-class veterinary education is an important issue that has an effect on national interests.
Hokkaido University's School of Veterinary Medicine established the Cooperative Veterinary Education Program with Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine in academic 2012 to promote advanced veterinary education using Hokkaido as a research field and making the most of the schools' mutual characteristics and individual advantages. Hokkaido University has an advantage in small animal clinical medicine, basic veterinary science, life science and infectious disease fields. Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine is characterized by large animal clinical medicine and food hygiene fields. By integrating these, we have built an international-level education system, which was difficult for a single university to achieve. After entering the school, students can receive education from faculty members of both universities. It takes two and a half hours by JR train from Sapporo to Obihiro. It will never be a short distance. However, focusing on communication through face-to-face classes, professors travel between the cities to give classes at both universities. Hokkaido University students have three or four opportunities to receive classes and practical training at Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. Experiencing two universities is advantageous not only for learning but also for a campus life. We hope that students will take advantage of such a favorable environment and lead a meaningful campus life.
To work in society as a veterinarian, not only skills as a veterinarian but also judgement based on scientific thinking, an ability to find and solve problems, communication skills and other social skills, as well as cooperativeness, independence and other basic qualities are necessary. To work globally, it is necessary to understand diverse cultures while having a firm identity. The School of Veterinary Medicine not only provides specialized education but also fosters such basic qualities. We welcome students with high aspirations and the willingness to study hard in this favorable environment and become a veterinarian or veterinary scientist.