Board strives to exercise fiscal discipline with funding priorities
Although the AVMA Executive Board was circumspect about its spending priorities during the June 11-12 meeting at AVMA headquarters, the board still approved funding for several key initiatives.
Funding priorities included creation of a task force studying the legal status of animals, hosting a meeting to develop a draft recommendation for the Foreign Animal Disease Laboratory on Plum Island, AVMA representation at the First National Congress on Public Health Readiness, and international accreditation activities.
Reference Committee A, which suggests board action on all recommendations with $500 expenditures, expressed concern about the costs of some items on the June agenda. Committee members agreed, as did the full board when they convened, that fiscal discipline needed to be exercised to keep expenses in check.
Board Chair Joe M. Howell highlighted what he sees as a growing trend to create a task force to address a particular matter rather than relying on established councils and committees. This leads to added expenses for the AVMA, Dr. Howell said.
Although the board considered several recommendations laudable, there was a reluctance to approve some of them at this time. "We can't do everything in one year," Dr. Jacky Horner, District III representative, said. "Even though the initiative is important, we might need to delay it for a time."
This was evident in the recommendation to create the Panel on Assessment and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Animals. Some board members did not question the value of the panel, but the cost of the initiative—$45,000—resulted in a vote to postpone acting on the recommendation until the November meeting (see page 180).
Dr. Charles Stoltenow, House Advisory Committee chair, explained one reason for the growing number of proposals coming before the board is more and more important issues—animal welfare and rights, food safety, and biosecurity, for example—are coming to forefront.
Expenditures from the June board session totaled $21,250 from the contingency fund and $14,225 from reserves. Board members also reviewed and approved the 2005 budget, which projects $24,839,250 in income and $24,072,950 in total expenses.
Other initiatives approved by the board include stepping up efforts to promote passage of federal legislation prohibiting animal fighting and preserving the southern sea otter; San Diego was selected to host the 2012 AVMA Annual Convention; and a position statement on aquatic animal therapeutic agents was adopted.
Several resolutions were forwarded to the AVMA House of Delegates with the HAC and board's recommended actions.
It is anticipated that the resolutions the HOD will act on this July in Philadelphia will address commending the achievements of military veterinarians in the war on terrorism, induced molting of layer hens, force feeding birds to produce foie gras, expanding the charge of the Task Force on State Legislative and Regulatory Issues, and establishment of a single, independent body for certifying graduates of foreign veterinary schools.