Board approves funding for pathogen surveillance system, gives nod to HOD membership for zoo, wildlife veterinarians

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At its June meeting, the second to last before the AVMA House of Delegates convenes this month in Salt Lake City, the AVMA Executive Board approved a number of recommendations, including partial funding for an animal pathogen surveillance system and updating of the Association's position statements on animals used in exhibitions.

Drs. Howell and Peddie
Dr. Joe M. Howell, District VII representative, discusses the credentialing committee agenda as Dr. James F. Peddie, AVMA treasurer, looks on.

Also recommended for approval was Resolution 1, which states that, for reasons of cleanliness and to minimize fly-strike, lambs' tails should be docked at the level of the distal end of the caudal tail fold.

For a second consecutive year, the board recommended for disapproval an initiative, Resolution 3, for the AVMA to completely oppose induced molting and to abandon its current policy that encourages proper nutrition and scientifically controlled, humane procedures for the practice (see JAVMA, July 1, 2000, pages 8-11). In 1999 the HOD rejected a similar resolution submitted by petition of AVMA members and initiated by the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights. The animal rights group has motivated this year's resolution.

A recommendation on Resolution 2, which deals with veterinary practice tax status, was postponed until the Executive Board reconvenes this month just prior to the HOD session.

In addition to voting on recommendations and resolutions, the Executive Board, during the June 8-9 meeting, unanimously reelected Dr. Bruce W. Little and Dr. Arthur V. Tennyson as executive vice president and assistant executive vice president, respectively. Dr. James F. Peddie was elected to a second one-year term as treasurer.

The board approved $79,200 in reserve funds to initiate a pilot study to attempt to establish a functional, long-term surveillance system for early detection of changes in antimicrobial susceptibility in pathogens. Dr. Ching Ching Wu, chair of the Antimicrobial Susceptibility Subcommittee of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, directs the study.

The AVMA Steering Committee on Judicious Therapeutic Antimicrobial Use recommended the Association's partial participation in the study, saying no system exists to monitor the susceptibility of animal pathogens to antimicrobials.

Several veterinary laboratories and the National Chicken Council have endorsed the study.

The board recommended approval of the National Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians' (NAZWV) application for representation in the HOD. Executive Board vice chairman, Dr. Jan Bartels, said during deliberations about the proposed membership, "I think this is overdue and late in coming." If the HOD approves the membership, a bylaws amendment would be required, which would not be voted on until the HOD meets in July 2001.

The AVMA Animal Welfare Committee recommended, and the Executive Board approved, an updated position statement on "Animals Used in Shows and for Exhibition."

The statement reads:

The AVMA supports the humane and ethical treatment of animals in shows and for exhibition, in accordance with existing federal, state, and local animal protection laws. The AVMA also encourages compliance with voluntary and self-regulated programs to ensure the humane treatment of animals.

The AVMA condemns the fraudulent use of drugs, non-nutritive agents, or procedures intended to alter performance, conformation, appearance, or other functions of animals competing in fairs, exhibitions, displays, or contests. The Association urges its members to report such activities to appropriate authorities.

Portions of the "Guiding Principles" section of the AVMA Positions on Animal Welfare were amended to improve readability and clarity, while emphasizing the important role of education in ensuring the welfare of animals.

The Executive Board approved updating the "Reporting to the Community" section of the AVMA Council on Education Accreditation Policies and Procedures manual. The addition states: "Within 24 hours of making a final (no further appeals available through the COE) adverse decision, the COE will notify the public of that decision via the AVMA Web site."

The addition was made to comply with a mandate from the US Department of Education.

Further action pertaining to the Council on Education was the board's approval to amend the procedures for "Accreditation of the United States and Canadian Veterinary Colleges." The new wording more accurately reflects the current practices of the council, on which the Canadian VMA has a voting member. It provides that site visit teams for Canadian colleges shall comprise two members of the Council on Education, one representative of the Canadian VMA, and three representatives of the Canadian National Examining Board.

We Are AVMA!
We Are AVMA: The AVMA staff was treated to a staff appreciation June 9, during which they wore these chic black AVMA shirts. The shirts were a gift from Dr. Leonard M. Tinney, retiring chairman of the AVMA Executive Board. Pictured here are the board members and officers with the Schaumburg headquarters staff and Dr. Niall Finnegan, director of the AVMA Washington, DC, staff.