Support of National Research Council's Recommendations in "Animal Health at the Crossroads"

Comment on this policy

AVMA continues to support the implementation of the recommendations for strengthening the animal health framework of the U.S. contained in the National Research Council's 2005 report "Animal Health at the Crossroads: Preventing, Detecting, and Diagnosing Animal Diseases."

National Research Council Recommendations for Strengthening the Animal Health Framework of the U.S.

COORDINATION OF FRAMEWORK COMPONENTS

Recommendation 1: The nation should establish a high-level, centralized, authoritative, and accountable coordinating mechanism or focal point for engaging and enhancing partnerships among local, state, and federal agencies and the private sector.

TECHNOLOGICAL TOOLS FOR PREVENTING, DETECTING, AND DIAGNOSING ANIMAL DISEASES

Recommendation 2: Agencies and institutions—including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—responsible for protecting animal industries, wildlife, and associated economies should encourage and support rapid development, validation, and adoption of new technologies and scientific tools for the detection, diagnosis, and prevention of animal diseases and zoonoses.

SCIENTIFIC PREPAREDNESS FOR DIAGNOSING ANIMAL DISEASES: LABORATORY CAPACITY AND CAPABILITY

Recommendation 3: The animal health laboratory network should be expanded and strengthened to ensure sufficient capability and capacity for both routine and emergency diagnostic needs and to ensure a robust linkage of all components (federal, state, university, and commercial laboratories) involved in the diagnosis of animal and zoonotic diseases.

ANIMAL HEALTH RESEARCH

Recommendation 4: Federal agencies involved in biomedical research (both human and veterinary) should establish a method to jointly fund new, competitive, comprehensive, and integrated animal health research programs; ensure that veterinary and medical scientists can work as collaborators; and enhance research, both domestically and internationally, on the prevention, detection, and diagnosis of animal and zoonotic disease encompassing both animal and human hosts.

Recommendation 5: To strengthen the animal health and zoonotic disease research infrastructure, the committee recommends that competitive grants be made available to scientists to upgrade equipment for animal disease research and that the nation construct and maintain government and university biosafety level 3 (BSL-3 and BSL-3 Ag) facilities for livestock (including large animals), poultry, and wildlife.

INTERNATIONAL INTERDEPENDENCE AND COLLABOARATION

Recommendation 6: The United States should commit resources and develop new shared leadership roles with other countries and international organizations in creating global systems for preventing, detecting, and diagnosing known and emerging diseases, disease agents, and disease threats as they relate to animal and public health.

IMPORTATION, SALE, AND TRANSPORT OF ANIMALS

Recommendation 7: Integrated and standardized regulations should be developed and implemented nationally to address the import, sale, movement, and health of exotic, non-domesticated, and wild-caught animals.

ADDRESSING FUTURE ANIMAL DISEASE RISKS

Recommendation 8: The USDA, DHS, Department of Health and Human Services, and state animal and public health agencies and laboratories should improve, expand, and formalize the use of predictive, risk based tools and models to develop prevention, detection, diagnostic, and biosecurity systems and strategies for indigenous, exotic, and emerging animal diseases.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Recommendation 9: Industry, producers, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), government agencies, and colleges of veterinary medicine should build veterinary capacity through both recruitment and preparation of additional veterinary graduates into careers in public health, food systems, biomedical research, diagnostic laboratory investigation, pathology, epidemiology, ecosystem health, and food animal practice.

Recommendation 10: The USDA, state animal health agencies, the AVMA, and colleges and schools of veterinary medicine and departments of animal science should develop a national animal health education plan focusing on education and training of individuals from all sectors involved in disease prevention and early detection through day-to-day oversight of animals.

IMPROVING PUBLIC AWARENESS OF THE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND HUMAN HEALTH EFFECTS OF ANIMAL DISEASES

Recommendation 11: The government, private sector, and professional and industry associations should collectively educate and raise the level of awareness of the general public about the importance of public and private investment to strengthen the animal health framework.

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