Use of Biotechnology in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Agriculture*

Comment on this policy

Humans have altered animals, plants, and even microbes through selective breeding for millennia, to the great benefit of society. Biotechnology increases our ability to continue this process at an accelerated pace and in a more directed manner. With these powerful tools comes an increased ability to do great good but there are risks and benefits to the technology. Although it is imperative that biotechnology be used responsibly and ethically, it is equally important that these powerful techniques for advancement not be sequestered due to unfounded fear of potential adverse consequences.

The AVMA supports the opportunity to use biotechnology for a variety of applications including:

  • The benefit and protection of public health (human, animal, and environmental) and welfare
  • Enhancing host resistance to infectious diseases and eliminating genetic-based diseases
  • Increasing the efficiency of food and fiber production
  • Improving the utility, nutritional value, and safety of human food and animal feeds
  • The production of improved animal medicinal products and diagnostic tools
  • The improvement and protection of the environment, and
  • The mitigation of the environmental impact of crop and agricultural animal production.

The AVMA affirms the responsible use of biotechnology to improve animal and human health.

The creation of new genetic-based knowledge through basic genetic research and the practical application of that knowledge is potentially a valuable adjunct to veterinary medicine. Therefore, it should not be restricted so long as it does not negatively impact the integrity of the environment and the health, safety, and well being of the resulting animals, the animals receiving or consuming the resulting products, or the consumers of animal products. The AVMA supports a science-based regulatory policy for the approval of products developed through biotechnology. Current regulations require evaluation of product safety and efficacy by USDA, FDA, EPA, or other appropriate government agencies before they can be marketed for the intended uses. Future evaluations should be solidly based on sound science and meaningful risk assessments.

*Policy supersedes the policy titled "Biotechnology - Derived Veterinary Medicinal Products" and the policy titled "Food Production Biotechnology"

Relevant AVMA Policy:

Use of Biotechnology in Development of Drugs and Vaccines