May 15, 2007


 Wildlife-livestock interactions policy adopted

Posted May 1, 2007

The AVMA has adopted a policy encouraging government agencies to be guided by science in their policies on interactions between wildlife and livestock.

The Executive Board approved the policy "Wildlife-livestock interactions," recommended by the Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee, which reads:

The AVMA encourages relevant federal and state agencies that deal with wildlife and domestic animal interactions to require the use of science-based evidence and peer-reviewed research to direct their health and resource management policies.

Bighorn sheep in the western states are a sensitive species prone to large-scale die-offs. According to the AALC, policies imposing grazing limitations for sheep and cattle appear to be inconsistent with existing scientific information concerning disease, especially information about bighorn sheep mortality. In particular, Mannheimia haemolytica infections in bighorn sheep are different from those found in domestic species.

The AALC is concerned that public policy is being developed and implemented on the basis of speculation rather than scientific information and peer-reviewed research.

Now that the board has approved the policy, the AVMA committee, along with the American Sheep Industry Association, will contact and encourage use of the policy by agencies with jurisdiction over livestock and wild sheep health and population management in the western United States.