Emergency preparedness is subject of two policy statements

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After considerable discussion, the Executive Board approved a recommendation from the AVMA Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues to endorse the concept and development of an Integrated Animal Emergency Preparedness and Response Program on the national, state, and county levels.

North Carolina has developed an emergency response model that brings together public health officials, local sheriffs' offices, local fire departments, and animal agencies under the auspices of the local emergency management agency. The eventual goal in the North Carolina concept is to have every U.S. county adequately prepared and trained, and to have a Veterinary Medical Assistance Team in each of the current 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency regions of the United States.

In February, the Emergency Programs Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services presented the integrated-program concept to the National Association of State Departments of Agricultural. The NASDA unanimously supported a resolution to go to Congress for $200 million to fund development of a federally supervised integrated program of surveillance, detection, preparedness, and response for animal emergencies.

AVMA endorsement of the concept and development of an Integrated Animal Emergency Preparedness and Response Program involves supporting legislation and other initiatives that would help implement this program.

The AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee supported the Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues' recommendation for an integrated program. The Executive Board approved the LAC's recommended policy on AVMA leadership in animal health emergency planning. The policy statement reads as follows:

The veterinary profession has a responsibility to ensure the safety of foods of animal origin to protect the health of American consumers, and to assist in maintaining the viability of livestock producers. The threat of bio- agro-terrorism added to the threat of natural disasters, increases the complexity of that responsibility and requires a comprehensive national plan to protect against all potential hazards. Therefore the AVMA must have a leading role in the formulation of that plan and should actively work to bring together the stakeholders in the plan to create the necessary infrastructure.