February 19, 2010


 Candidates seek to fill District I seat on AVMA board


Two candidates are vying to succeed Dr. Douglas G. Aspros as District I representative on the AVMA Executive Board when his term ends this August.

AVMA members residing in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont will elect either Dr. John de Jong of Weston, Mass., or Dr. John G. Hynes, of Staten Island, N.Y., to a six-year-term as their representative on the AVMA board.

Dr. Aspros is the only Executive Board member whose term expires in 2010.

It isn't often more than one candidate runs for a seat on the Executive Board—the last contested race occurred in 2007. The District I race is noteworthy also because one candidate is highly involved in the AVMA and organized veterinary medicine while the other is a relative newcomer who believes the Association is heading in the wrong direction on animal welfare issues.

Dr. de Jong owns the Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic and is a partner and chief of staff at a five-veterinarian hospital. He is also founder and chief surgeon of a low-cost spay and neuter clinic.

Dr. de Jong got involved in organized veterinary medicine soon after graduating from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1985. He has been elected president of the Massachusetts and New England VMAs as well as the American Association of Housecall Veterinarians.

Additionally, Dr. de Jong has served in the AVMA House of Delegates since 1999 and has chaired the House Advisory and Governance Performance Review committees and the AVMA Political Action Committee Policy Board.

If elected, Dr. de Jong says he would join the Executive Board with a strong working knowledge of the AVMA and the profession.

"I know that I can bring a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and experience to the AVMA Executive Board with a progressive approach to issues on animal welfare, legislative advocacy, education, and economic viability," he said.

Dr. Hynes earned his DVM degree from Mississippi State University in 1991 and is practicing general medicine and surgery in New Jersey and New York where he co-owns a practice. He is on the board of the New York League of Humane Voters, a nonprofit organization advocating for animal welfare legislation and working to elect candidates who support a humane agenda.

The Staten Island veterinarian was motivated to run for the AVMA board after the Association declined taking a position on Proposition 2—the successful California referendum requiring the state's livestock producers to provide more room for egg-laying hens, veal calves, and pregnant sows by 2015.

Dr. Hynes is a Humane Society VMA member who takes issue with the AVMA policy supporting the use of elephant guides—husbandry tools that comprise a shaft capped by one straight and one curved end—and the "flying fish" exhibition presented by the Pike Place Fish Market fishmongers during the opening session of the 2009 AVMA Annual Convention in Seattle. (The AVMA policy, "Elephant Guides and Tethers," is available here.)

"My goal in pursuing this position is to advance humane animal legislation, and bring a new voice, a new choice, to the AVMA," Dr. Hynes said.

Ballots for the District I election must be received by the AVMA no later than March 10. The election winner will be announced that month.