By Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director of the AVMA GRD
Dr. Dave Sjeklocha and Dr. Gail Golab
In a joint effort with the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC), the AVMA hosted a briefing for congressional staff on the issue of animal welfare in beef production. The talk focused on pain management and a voluntary effort currently promoted by the AVC to improve animal welfare in beef feedlots.
The educational session was held April 11th with honorary host Rep. Kurt Schrader, (D-Ore.), the only veterinarian currently serving in Congress.
Dr. Gail Golab, director of the AVMA's Animal Welfare Division, kicked off the presentation off with an introduction into the physiology of pain, how to manage pain, and how to do so while also mitigating factors that affect production animal medicine, such as economics, residue issues and population management. Dr. Dave Sjeklocha, a beef production veterinarian from Kansas and AVC member, followed with a review of several scientific studies highlighting benefits of pain management, the challenges in assessing pain in beef cattle and a call for the profession, drug companies and Congress to work with the FDA to pursue labeling of pain management drugs for food animal use. Currently there are no pain medications labeled for food animal use in the United States. Finally, Dr. Sjeklocha discussed the "Beef Feedlot Assurance Feedyard Welfare Assessment," which is a voluntary program designed to improve animal welfare in beef feedlot systems.
The briefing was part of the AVMA's continued efforts to educate Congress about complex animal welfare issues and the importance of supporting research in production animal medicine.
AVMA also called on the congressional staffers to meet AVMA funding requests for programs important to animal health and welfare.
Learn more about this issue:
AVMA Animal Welfare Overview
Castration and Dehorning of Cattle
Academy of Veterinary Consultants
For more information please contact Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division.