Yes, veterinary school IS harder to get into than medical school. So yes, we are real doctors. That aside, one of the reasons is that, currently, there are only 28 vet schools in the US.
A good resource on these is the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.
At present time, Utah has already started a new vet school that partners with Washington State University. The students attend Utah State for the first two years and then go on to WSU for clinical years. A teaching hospital is an enormous expense for a state. There has to be large and small animal medical and surgical facilities, equipment, drugs, and board certified specialists to train and teach students. This is why each vet school wants to make sure you REALLY know what you are getting into when you apply and want to be in their class. You are an investment too. Yes, it costs you money but it costs them too.
Now there is a vet school in Arizona that will open in 2014. It's good and bad. In my opinion, and studies bear this out, there are areas where there are definite shortages of vets and others where we have too many. "Areas" means types of practices as well as locations. Rural areas are very underserved and large animal vets are becoming a rarity these days. So if we can get students to go into those areas/types of practice, great. It's all about economics. Supply, demand, what someone is going to get paid, and where they would have to live are all part of the equation. You cannot force someone to be a large animal vet or live in the country, still you CAN have economic incentives, like loan repayments. But people that own animals have a responsibility too. Many farmers, especially owners of small sized farms, often don't call a vet until it's late in the process of the problem. Then they want it cheap. Well, that won't fly if you want people to be able to earn a living wage. Student loans are very high no matter what type of medicine you practice after school.