The AVMA has joined the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants to form a new coalition to ensure that food continues to be abundant, safe, and wholesome by involving veterinarians throughout the food supply system.
Representatives from each organization met in Chicago on May 17 to finalize an agreement to establish the Food Supply Veterinary Medicine Coalition. The coalition is a new formalized group that evolved from the former Food Animal Summit Task Force.
"Food supply veterinary medicine" is the new term the coalition has adopted to encompass all aspects of veterinary medicine's involvement in food supply systems, from traditional agricultural production to consumption.
The coalition's first major project is a comprehensive study comprising multiple research phases addressing the demand for, and the availability of, food supply veterinarians in the United States and Canada. As reported in the JAVMA June 1, the coalition has selected David M. Andrus, PhD, a professor and head of the department of marketing at Kansas State University, to lead the research team conducting the study, "Estimating FSVM Demand and Maintaining the Availability of Veterinarians for Careers in Food Supply Related Disciplines in the United States and Canada."
"This study will have profound and lasting effects on food supply veterinary medicine, and it is hoped that it will serve as a framework for planning for the future," said Dr. Rod Sydenham, chair of the coalition.
"It is wonderful to see the veterinary profession and industry looking toward the future together for the safety and well-being of the entire country," said AVMA President Jack O. Walther.
Bayer Animal Health and the AVMA have each committed $100,000 to pay for the estimated $300,000 cost of the project. The other $100,000 was pledged by the AABP ($50,000), AASV ($40,000), and AAVMC ($10,000).
The project will also address student recruitment and selection, retention of students and veterinarians, and appropriate training of food supply veterinarians to serve society. The project is expected to be completed late in the summer of 2005.
"This study will also provide valuable information for admissions officials and faculty of veterinary colleges for recruiting and training the type of students likely to pursue a career in food supply veterinary medicine," said Dr. John Thomson, the AAVMC representative.