The Executive Board authorized the AVMA to send a letter to the president thanking him for Homeland Security Presidential Directive-9, and to offer the AVMA's assistance in carrying out the directive.
Homeland Security Presidential Directive-9, issued by President Bush Jan. 30, makes the Department of Homeland Security responsible for coordinating federal programs aimed at protecting U.S. agriculture from diseases, pests, and toxins. The AVMA Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee recommended that the board authorize AVMA support for the directive, and the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine expressed its support for the recommendation.
Dr. R. Tracy Rhodes, a member of the Executive Board (District IX) and the Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee, emphasized the importance of the directive and the AVMA playing a role in its implementation.
"This highlights the importance of agriculture and food to the well-being of the United States, as well as the vital role that veterinarians will play if terrorism is directed at animal health," Dr. Rhodes said. "The directive should also result in increased funding for laboratory and educational efforts at veterinary colleges."
Among other things, the directive calls for creation of a national stockpile of animal drugs and vaccines to respond to serious animal diseases; grants to veterinary colleges for expanding training in exotic animal diseases, epidemiology, and public health; and inclusion of veterinary diagnostic laboratories in national networks of federal and state laboratories. See March 15 JAVMA online.