May 15, 2013

Animal welfare is improving as buyers pressure suppliers to meet standards and to participate in audit and education programs. According to Temple Grandin, PhD, the pressure—from consumers to retailers to packers to farms—has led to substantial improvements since the late 1990s, when she first saw large retailers pressuring suppliers to fix welfare problems.

AVMA

As the AVMA’s liaison to the Student AVMA and student chapters, Vice President Walter R. Threlfall has been visiting veterinary colleges across the country. In his talks with students, Dr. Threlfall offers professional advice and reassures them about their choice of careers. He also explains that the AVMA not only understands their worries but also is working to find solutions to some of the more pressing challenges they face, such as high educational debt and low starting salaries. Almost halfway through his two-year term, Dr. Threlfall talked to JAVMA News about all he’s learned while on the road.

Issues

The Texas Supreme Court has reversed a controversial ruling by a state appellate court that would have allowed the owners of a wrongfully euthanized pet dog to sue for emotional damages. While attesting that “Texans love their dogs,” the high court went on to reaffirm a century-old legal precedent that defines pets as property and rules out noneconomic damages rooted solely in an owner’s feelings.

Practice

Revenues rose a mean of 5.6 percent for companion animal practices between 2011 and 2012 alongside an increase in patient visits, according to the annual State of the Industry Report from the American Animal Hospital Association. The positive report came out at AAHA’s yearly conference, March 14-17 in Phoenix. The conference also featured sessions from Partners for Healthy Pets and the Pet Nutrition Alliance. Coming up in June, AAHA will introduce a toolkit to help practices set up mentoring programs for veterinarians who are new graduates.

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