The AVMA Executive Board took actions aimed at helping the perennially cash-strapped Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank.
Earlier this year, Congress authorized a $2.5 million annual allocation for FARAD. The funds have not yet been appropriated, however, and the service is operating on emergency money, resulting in diminished operations and staff layoffs. Without more funds, FARAD is expected to shutter operations in 2009 (see story, page 1830).
Board members approved a recommendation from the Legislative Advisory Committee that the AVMA consider providing FARAD with emergency funding. The proposal was amended to specify an amount of $5,000 as long as other FARAD stakeholders also contribute to the service.
Prior to the board vote, Reference Committee A recommended that the board disapprove the funding proposal. When the full board took up the measure, many members wondered why, if FARAD provides such a vital public health service, Congress or some other group hasn't funded the service adequately.
The AVMA's providing emergency funds to FARAD would send a message to other entities, according to AVMA CEO W. Ron DeHaven. Board member Dr. John Scamahorn of District VI agreed. "A lot of groups are on the sidelines waiting to see what we do," he said.
In the meantime, the AVMA Governmental Relations Division will continue seeking funding sources for FARAD.
The other FARAD-related recommendation from the Legislative Advisory Committee was a proposal for the GRD to actively pursue legislation moving FARAD from the Agriculture Department's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service to another federal agency.
The GRD has unsuccessfully lobbied USDA-CSREES to find a permanent funding solution for FARAD, according to the recommendation background. The agency has indicated that FARAD funding is not a priority, however, leaving FARAD to seek congressional appropriations every year.
Moving FARAD from USDA-CSREES to a receptive federal government agency will help secure predictable and adequate funding to support the administration of FARAD, the recommendation stated.