State Legislative Resources

WELCOME to the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) State Legislative Resources area. AVMA is the internationally recognized source of science-based information and answers on topics related to animal health, animal welfare and public health. For 150 years, legislators, the media and the public have turned to us when they needed answers to their questions or guidance on the scientific approach to complex issues. AVMA policy has provided knowledgeable guidance to those who seek answers – from state legislators to town halls, and remains the one source that the public can rely on for scientifically proven advice.

This area includes a number of resources including:

  • summaries of AVMA policies and background papers on selected legislative issues affecting veterinary medicine
  • contact information for state and allied veterinary medical associations
  • links to state veterinary practice acts and administrative regulations
  • advocacy tools for effective grassroots advocacy
  • AVMA federal and state government relations contacts

Use the links at left to explore these valuable resources.

Some materials included in this area have been prepared by organizations other than AVMA. Links to other Web sites are provided for information and convenience only. The inclusion of such materials or links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorsement of those views and positions.

The AVMA is honored to work with you to achieve our shared goals of informing, improving and protecting the health and safety of our citizens and animals.

What is the AVMA?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), established in 1863, is the largest veterinary medical association in the world. As a not-for-profit association established to advance the science and art of veterinary medicine, the AVMA is the recognized voice of the veterinary profession. The Association's more than 85,000 members (representing approximately 86 percent of all U.S. veterinarians) are involved in all areas of veterinary medical practice, including: private, corporate, academic, industrial, governmental, military, and public health practices.

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U.S. States, territories, and various species-related and specialty groups also have independent veterinary associations offering their unique perspectives. The AVMA works closely with each of these associations to effectively represent the entire profession. The AVMA, including its Department of State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois. The association also has a Governmental Relations Division in Washington, DC to address federal matters.

Veterinarians lend their expertise to a wide variety of departments within federal, state, and local governments. At the federal level, these include the National Institutes of Health, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Veterans Administration, U.S. military, and the United States Senate. Veterinarians in the Epidemiological Investigative Service of the CDC participate in disease outbreak investigations.

At the state and local levels, veterinarians are valued members of legislative bodies, regulatory agencies, public health services, diagnostic laboratories, animal control departments, and departments of agriculture. All this and we take care of your pets, too!

The AVMA monitors legislative and regulatory activity on both the state and federal level, and, as appropriate, comments on a variety of issues impacting the profession, animals and the public. Recent examples of issues in which we are involved include: animal welfare, agricultural production, food safety and public health, pharmacy standards, environmental and waste management, wildlife and endangered species, small businesses concerns, research, biotechnology, and education.

How We Can Help You

If you've got questions...we've got answers. The AVMA can be an invaluable resource. Some of the areas in which we are involved and have information that may be helpful are:

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  • animal health
  • public health
  • animal welfare
  • biomedical research
  • food production
  • food safety
  • environmental concerns
  • agro-terrorism
  • bio-terrorism
  • homeland security


A Science-Based Approach To Animal Welfare

The AVMA believes that animal welfare is a human responsibility that encompasses all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling, and, when necessary, humane euthanasia. Many times we help ensure that legislation has a basis in science and will go beyond rhetoric to actually result in health and welfare benefits for animals.


That being said, animal welfare and animal rights are not synonymous terms. The AVMA wholeheartedly endorses and adopts promotion of animal welfare as official policy; however, the AVMA cannot endorse the philosophical views and personal values of animal rights advocates when they are incompatible with the responsible use of animals for human purposes, such as companionship, food, fiber, and research conducted for the benefit of both humans and animals.


Agricultural Practices and Products

Veterinarians play a critical role in safeguarding America's agricultural animals and products from farm to table. They provide quality health care for animals, advise on best husbandry and management practices, ensuring that animals used for food are treated humanely, and work to make certain our food is as safe, nutritious, and wholesome as possible.



Public Health Issues

As part of their medical education, all veterinarians receive instruction in public health. Many AVMA members, our leadership and our staff also have advanced degrees in this area. As a result, the AVMA is willing and able to provide you with up-to-date information on emerging and foreign animal diseases, zoonotic diseases (diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans), and antimicrobial resistance. Need information on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, mad cow disease), foot and mouth disease, anthrax, plague, avian influenza, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, chronic wasting disease, food safety, or antimicrobial resistance? The AVMA is your best resource for accurate information on these and other public health issues.



Homeland Security

Veterinarians play a major role in securing America's homeland. They are the first responders in an animal disease outbreak and serve as experts in bioterrorism diseases common to humans and animals. AVMA members also hold leadership roles in (USDA) U.S. Department of Agriculture, (DHS) Department of Homeland Security, (HHS) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, State Departments and many state and local government agencies.



Veterinary Pharmaceuticals, Biologics, and Technologies?

On a daily basis, we are asked to consider issues associated with vaccination programs, Internet pharmacies, and emerging technologies. To make sure that your constituents are well-served, you'll want to get your information from professionals who understand the science and related controversies behind these issues, and who care about animals, their owners, and the public.



Contact Us!

1931 N. Meacham Road, Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 800-248-2862
Fax: 847-925-1329



For State or Local Issues:

Contact information for state and specialty veterinary medical associations is listed on the AVMA Web site:


You may also contact the AVMA's Department of State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs:
Phone: 847-285-6780
Fax: 847-925-1329


For Federal Issues:

Go to the National Advocacy section of the AVMA web site or contact the AVMA Governmental Relations Division:
1910 Sunderland Place, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1642
Phone: 800-321-1473
Fax: 202-842-4360