March 01, 2014

Foreign veterinary college accreditation has been debated by AVMA members and leaders for the past few years. In June 2013, a consensus had been reached by the Executive Board that the AVMA Council on Education should continue to accredit foreign veterinary colleges. Then, this January, the House of Delegates voted against stopping foreign accreditation. Those actions apparently resolve the matter for now.

Issues

Tyson Fresh Meats and Smithfield Foods, two of the nation’s largest pork companies, are asking that suppliers make changes intended to improve pig welfare. Tyson is asking that contract farms add video monitoring, eliminate use of manual blunt force trauma for euthanasia of piglets, use pain mitigation for tail docking and castration, and ensure that housing for pregnant sows provides room for some movement. Smithfield is asking that suppliers stop using gestation stalls by 2022.

Practice

Researchers in Minnesota found indications the virus responsible for porcine epidemic diarrhea could spread among farms through aerosols carried by wind. The virus has sickened and killed pigs, particularly the youngest pigs, in at least 20 states since it was found in the U.S. for the first time in April 2013. Recent study of spread of the virus in the Oklahoma Panhandle and southern Kansas has found RNA from the virus in wind samples as well as a correlation among wind patterns and the direction of spread of the virus to naive farms.

Community

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the University of Florida have announced a new online program that will give students the opportunity to earn a Master of Science degree in Veterinary Forensic Sciences.