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Veterinary Services

Veterinary services are another area where the economic classification of various components differs and is open to different interpretations. Clinical health services and the provision of veterinary drugs are the closest to being pure private goods. However, there can be positive externalities in treatment, particularly in the case of infectious diseases, that may justify some form of government intervention. It can be argued that preventive health services also justify either public provision, or at least financing by the totality of affected livestock owners, because of the externalities involved and the ‘free rider’ implications of charging individual farmers for services that others will benefit from. There are also moral hazard problems in the market for veterinary services, especially in the area of drug provision and hygiene inspection. These require the government to maintain a role in the provision of these types of services.