(SAN ANTONIO) August 8, 2016—The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) named Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) a recipient of its 2016 President’s Award. Reid will receive the award in Las Vegas later in the month. He was recognized for positive contributions to the veterinary profession, including co-sponsoring legislation to restore the general officer rank to the chief of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, which was signed into law by then-President George W. Bush.
Beginning in 1946, the chief of the veterinary corps was a brigadier general, but after the military was downsized, the veterinary corps star was lost. With intense lobbying from the AVMA, Sen. Reid worked to include a provision in the defense authorization bill requiring that the chief of the Army Veterinary Corps hold the rank of brigadier general.
“This initiative was significant to veterinarians because the United States is seen as the world leader in military matters. So at international meetings of military veterinarians, it was wrong that the veterinary corps leaders from other countries were generals, but the chief of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps was of a lower rank,” said Dr. Joe Kinnarney, AVMA president. “With Sen. Reid’s backing, we are pleased to have played a role in ensuring that the Army Veterinary Corps chief hold, at a minimum, the rank of brigadier general, which was important not only for the veterinary corps, but also for the entire veterinary profession.”
Reid has had a long, distinguished career in government. In 1982, he won the first of two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, and re-elected in 1992, 1998, 2004 and 2010. Reid has served as the chair or ranking Democratic member on several important committees and subcommittees, and is currently the Senate Democratic Leader.
The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, was established in 1916 to provide veterinary services to the U.S. Department of Defense. It contributes to the nation's defense through food safety and biomedical research and development, while providing veterinary care to government-owned animals and pets owned by fellow service members.