August 01, 2012

Bull riding has emerged from the world of rodeo over the past two decades as a multimillion-dollar sport followed by millions of fans. Once portrayed as murderous villains, bucking bulls are now the stars of the show and worth up to six figures. When these animals suffer a performance-related injury, owners rely on a cadre of veterinarians who have pioneered the field of bovine sports medicine. "With these bulls, slaughter is not an option," Dr. Gary D. Warner, considered one of the best bucking-bull veterinarians in the world, explained.


The AVMA Executive Board traveled to the Washington, D.C., area to hold its June meeting and advocate for the profession on Capitol Hill. During the June 7-9 meeting in Alexandria, Va., the board took a variety of noteworthy actions. The visit to Capitol Hill began with a lunch reception where the board mingled with members of Congress. Following the reception, the board members visited the offices of their legislators.


McDonald's, Compass Group, Wendy's, Burger King, Safeway, Kroger, Cracker Barrel, and Sonic have announced since February plans to gradually decrease purchases of pork produced by companies that use individual sow gestation stalls. Many of the companies have expressed concerns that the stalls don't adequately provide for sow welfare, although officials with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and National Pork Board say the stalls can provide for sow welfare that is equivalent to that of group housing if the system is properly managed.


A foot-and-mouth disease vaccine conditionally approved in June is the first that can be manufactured on the U.S. mainland because it does not contain a live virus. Researchers with the Department of Agriculture created the vaccine at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center off Long Island, N.Y., and the Department of Homeland Security, with USDA and industry collaboration, further developed the vaccine and conducted research needed to gain the conditional approval.


Noted pharmacologist Dr. Jim E. Riviere is moving on to Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine after more than 30 years at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The co-founder and director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank, or FARAD, has big plans at his new place of employment. Starting Aug. 1, Dr. Riviere will direct the newly created Institute of Computational Comparative Medicine.