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In the present study alterations after November 1989 (fall of the iron curtain), July 1990 (financial, economical and social reunification) and October 3,1990 (day of reunification) among veterinarians as well as in the veterinary service in the federal states SaxoniaAnhalt, Saxonia and Thuringia were observed. Simultaneously, essential reasons for these alterations were investigated.The investigation was based on personal data (name, first name, academic degree, year of birth, sex, district and federal state as well as occupation) from veterinarians working in the three federal states. Altogether, data from 2.800 veterinarians were processed anonymously in this study. Additionally, data concerning the occupation of veterinary engineers and veterinary technicians between the end of 1989 and the middle of 1991 were collected and evaluated.As a result of the alterations after 1989, the liquidation of the centralised veterinary service of the former
German Democratic Republic was completed by the end of 1991, in particular by the establishment of new privat veterinary practices, foundation of new public meat and food hygiene institutes and reorganisation of the existing public veterinary service. Between the end of 1989 and the end of 1993, the number of veterinarians working in their profession declined by nearly 20 %. At the same time, the number of not working or not in the veterinary profession working veterinarians raised from 6,8 % up to 26,1 %. The most decisive reasons for this development were the liquidation of state-owned veterinary practices, the age of many veterinarians and regulations for earlier retirement.In 1993, only 1.259 veterinarians were working in veterinary practices compared to 1.685 veterinarians in 1989.In 1989, almost all veterinarians were employed by the state. Only in Saxonia two aged veterinarians worked as private veterinary practitioners.Till the end of 1990 more than half of the vets and, till the end of 1991, i.e. when the liquidatio
n of the state-owned veterinary practices was finished, all vets were no longer employed by the state. The majority of them established their own veterinary practice, in most cases individual practices.In 1989, the portion of small animal practices was fairly low, but increased until 1993.At the end of 1993, 648 veterinarians (31,4 % of all working vets) were employed by public veterinary servicesin Saxonia-Anhalt, Saxonia and Thuringia. The majority of them was working in federal and district veterinary administration authorities. Especially due to the loss of jobs in the meat inspection sector the number of vets employed by the state decreased clearly compared to 1989 (866 veterinarians).In 1993, the percentage of women working in private practices and in public veterinary services totals to 19,9 % and 29,2 % respectively.In the private and public sector the age groups ,30 - 39 ... .. 40 - 49" and,,50 - 59" make up nearly 90 % of all vets.At the end of 1993, 144 veterinarians (7 % of all working vets) were employed by the industry.The drastic reduction of livestock following the reorganisation of the agricultural sector in Saxonia-Anhalt, Saxonia and Thuringia after 1990 had a very negative impact on veterinary practitioners. Emerging problems of the newly established agricultural enterprises had an additional lasting influence.Due to the changes in the agricultural sector, the repudiation of their professional degree, the liquidation of the state-owned vet-practices and the limited taking over into public veterinary services after 1990, veterinary engineers and veterinary technicians were facing restricted job opportunities.