Six resolutions have been submitted for consideration by the AVMA House of Delegates at its annual session July 12-13.
Resolution 5 calls for the AVMA to develop a plan for veterinary and public awareness of the impact that a proposed American Association of Veterinary State Boards program would have on assessing educational equivalency and accreditation standards in the United States. The California VMA and the AVMA House Advisory Committee submitted the resolution.
In July 2000 at the AAVSB delegate assembly, member state boards authorized the AAVSB to proceed with development and implementation of a program that would provide an alternative to the AVMA's Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) program. The proposed AAVSB Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (PAVE) is described at www.aavsb.org.
California VMA Executive Director Richard Schumacher said, "The PAVE program is in place. Now various state boards are trying to do by regulation what we in California defeated legislatively last year. In California our veterinary medical board is pursuing regulations to adopt the PAVE program, and that's over the opposition of the entire veterinary profession in California.
"We're strongly opposed to PAVE. We introduced Resolution 5 because we think the AVMA should be involved, and that every state should know the negative effect PAVE would have on [foreign graduate] competency certification and the Council on Education's approval program for foreign veterinary schools.
"Our veterinary medical board [would essentially become] the accrediting board in California. PAVE would allow them to decide which [foreign] schools' graduates need to have their competency determined, and it would put those students on equal footing in California with graduates of accredited schools."
In their statement about Resolution 5, the CVMA and House Advisory Committee note that AAVSB members must initiate legislative and/or regulatory changes in state practice acts to accept the PAVE program. The resolution co-sponsors go on to make the following points:
- The PAVE plan is to develop a parallel program to the AVMA's time-tested ECFVG program that has served the veterinary profession and the public successfully for 36 years. PAVE would allow equal access to state licensure for graduates from selected, nonapproved foreign veterinary schools without requiring that they adequately demonstrate their clinical competence.
- PAVE is undeveloped, untested, and unnecessary.
- The AVMA Council on Education accreditation program sets the standards for veterinary education in the United States and Canada, and has become the accepted standard of the world. [The ECFVG is under the oversight of the council.]
- The PAVE program would provide de facto accreditation to some nonapproved foreign veterinary schools. An experiment with such dramatic changes should be thoroughly examined and evaluated by the public and the veterinary profession before being implemented.
Additional AVMA/AVMF Congressional Science Fellowships are the subject of resolutions 1 and 2.
Currently the program is funded by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation through donations from state and allied veterinary associations, the Auxiliary to the AVMA, individual contributions, and the Congressional Fellowship Endowment Fund.
Resolution 1, submitted by the New Jersey VMA, Virginia VMA, and District of Columbia VMA, proposes that the AVMA provide a restricted donation to the AVMF in the amount necessary (about $130,000) to support the stipend, training, travel, and other expenses for two additional fellows, beginning in 2002.
Resolution 2, from the AVMA House Advisory Committee, suggests that, in addition to the fellowship currently sponsored by the AVMF, the AVMA should fund one fellow annually (at a cost of about $65,000).
Sponsors of both resolutions agree that the fellowship program has heightened awareness of the veterinary profession in Washington and enhanced its reputation on Capitol Hill, and that doubling this representation is a valuable investment in the future.
In 1999 and 2000 the HOD disapproved a resolution opposing induced or forced molting. Essentially the same resolution has been resubmitted this year, again by petition of AVMA members and initiated by the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights.
Resolution 3 states:
RESOLVED that the AVMA opposes induced or forced molting, the process designed to bring an entire flock of hens into a non-laying and oviduct rejuvenation period at the same time, when it causes harm or stress to the birds. Forced molting is a management practice that has been tried using numerous different methods but is generally accomplished through long-term food withdrawal. These methods have historically resulted in severe stress or other detrimental physical injuries to these birds, including a compromised immune system, which creates disease in both the hens and their eggs. It is a management practice used solely for economic reasons rather than to provide any health benefits to birds used for egg-laying purposes.
The only difference in wording this year is the phrase in the last sentence calling induced or forced molting a management practice used solely "for economic reasons," which replaces the phrase in the 2000 version, "to benefit the poultry industry."
Clinical representation on council
The House Advisory Committee submitted Resolution 4, which proposes that the positions on the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents that represent predominantly small animal, predominantly food animal, and predominantly equine practice be designated as private clinical practice positions.
In the statement about the resolution, the committee notes that 67.5 percent of AVMA members are private clinical practitioners. The veterinarians who are most affected by the council's actions and who use pharmaceuticals on a daily basis should have a voting presence that ensures their concerns are addressed, the committee states.
This year the HOD will also vote on a related, proposed bylaws amendment that would restructure the Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents by increasing its membership from 10 to 12. The proposed bylaw would also adjust the council's composition. One of the ways would be to designate the predominantly small animal, predominantly food animal, and predominantly equine positions as clinical practice positions—in contrast to Resolution 4, which would designate them as private clinical practice positions.
Should the AVMA present more than one AVMA Award annually? In Resolution 6, seven state veterinary medical associations say that the Executive Board should have the flexibility to recognize more than one member's contributions with the AVMA Award each year, considering the fact that the membership has grown 600 percent since the first AVMA award was presented in 1943.
Each AVMA Award recipient receives a Tiffany crystal sculpture and $500 cash award.
The resolution was submitted by the Connecticut VMA, Maine VMA, Massachusetts VMA, New Hampshire VMA, New York State VMS, Rhode Island VMA, and Vermont VMA.