In a roll-call vote July 13, the House of Delegates approved a resolution aimed at preventing the imposition of needless regulatory burdens that do not have a clear benefit for animal care.
ASLAP delegate, Dr. Susan Stein argues for approval of Resolution 2.
The American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners submitted Resolution 2. The Executive Board and House Advisory Committee both recommended disapproval, but the reference committee recommended approval with alterations for clarity. The ASLAP was consulted in Nashville and concurred with these alterations.
So, after considerable discussion, the HOD approved the clarified version, which states:
Resolved, that in exercising its leadership role in assuring the health and well-being of animal populations in the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association will work to prevent promulgation of regulations and implementation of policies that increase regulatory burden without clearly benefiting the welfare of animals or protecting the food supply and/or the public at large. As a matter of principle, the AVMA will promote the veterinary expertise of its members and their right to exercise professional judgment in using that expertise to assure the appropriate care and treatment for animals under their charge.
According to the ASLAP, the Department of Agriculture appears to have rejected the advice of laboratory animal specialists in developing recent animal care policies that interpret Animal Welfare Act regulations and standards. Using this policy-making procedure instead of the federally mandated rule-making process to implement rules bypasses reasoned discourse, the ASLAP said, and leads to policies that increase the regulatory burden without improving animal welfare.
Some of the delegates expressed concern that the resolution could create a false perception that veterinarians are more interested in the entity that employs them than in the welfare of the animals under their care. Others were concerned the resolution could inadvertently leave the impression that the AVMA would be working to prevent due process.
Dr. Taylor Bennett, ASLAP alternate delegate, told delegates about the regulatory process and the principal issues that led the society to submit the resolution. "In order to become the preeminent experts in animal health ... we do that sometimes by standing up and taking an unpopular position," he said. The resolution's charge that AVMA promote the right of AVMA members to exercise their professional judgment should help safeguard animal welfare.