The financial impact of COVID-19 is the primary focus of Washington lawmakers right now, but not the only one. As discussions about another economic stimulus package continue, attention also is focused on public health matters – including the importance of One Health.
Now more than ever, it’s important that lawmakers understand the importance of a coordinated One Health approach to dealing with infectious disease outbreaks, and why investing in animal health research, surveillance, and diagnostics can improve public health and pay economic dividends.
In addition to advancing the economic concerns of veterinary professionals and small businesses, the AVMA also has lawmakers’ attention in discussions that aim to address the nation’s public health infrastructure needs, including diagnostics and vaccine development. We’re working with our congressional champions – veterinarian Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), and Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) – on bipartisan legislation that would direct the federal government to coordinate on One Health activities across different agencies.
The voices of AVMA members can help make passage of this legislation a priority for lawmakers. You can add your voice to help get this important One Health legislation passed by writing your members of Congress through AVMA’s Congressional Advocacy Network to ask for their support. The bill is called the Advancing Emergency Preparedness through One Health Act (S.1903/H.R. 3771).
Other One Health issues
As part of our One Health work, AVMA also has called on Congress to support the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which is a partnership of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). AVMA joined other organizations, including the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), to ask that Congress fully fund the NAHLN, as several of these labs have stepped up to provide equipment, supplies, and testing for the COVID-19 outbreak.
AVMA’s work will help ensure that federal animal health infrastructure has the resources to safeguard U.S. food and feed supplies against food animal diseases while also assisting in the COVID-19 response.