AVMA supports updated and expanded Brakke study, approves task force on housing of pregnant sows

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The AVMA has provided a $200,000 grant to the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues for the creation of a series of analytic models designed to enhance the management of veterinary practices and the productivity of veterinarians and support staff.

The AVMA Executive Board approved a plan to support Pfizer Animal Health and Brakke Consulting Practice Management Group in an expanded version of the original Brakke Study. This will be a study of the business practices of companion animal, food animal, and equine veterinarians.

The board approved those proposals (see pages 21, 22), along with numerous other initiatives ranging from small business issues and legislation to wellness guiding principles and animal welfare, when the board convened Nov. 13-15, 2003, in Schaumburg, Ill.

Dr. Joe M. Howell of Oklahoma City chaired the meeting, during which the board authorized $93,000 from the contingency funds budgeted for 2003, and $261,550 from the reserve fund.

In addition to reaffirming its commitment to legislation dealing with the availability of animal drugs and specialty pay for board-certified federal veterinarians, the Executive Board has identified new priorities during the 108th Congress (see page 12).

The board has authorized the AVMA Governmental Relations Division to seek passage of two bills that would help small businesses; another that would require a bittering agent to be added to engine coolant and antifreeze making it less palatable to animals; and others increasing funding for chronic wasting disease research.

A number of animal welfare issues were addressed, including the creation and funding of a Task Force on the Housing of Pregnant Sows (see page 15). Its purpose is to conduct a thorough review of the scientific data relating to the impact on the health and welfare of keeping breeding sows in gestation stalls. The task force will then recommend a position for the AVMA on pregnant sow housing.

Position statements were adopted relating to the tail docking of swine, declawing of captive exotic and wild (indigenous) cats, dental surgery on captive nonhuman primates and exotic and wild carnivores, and disabled swine.

This year, the AVMA will seek to rejoin the Panamerican Association of Veterinary Sciences (see page 21).

Concerning public and animal health, the Executive Board approved a collaboration between the AVMA and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a survey of veterinarians' awareness regarding infection control precautions used to prevent the transmission of zoonotic diseases in veterinary settings.