AVMA to lead national disaster summit

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On a recommendation from AVMA Immediate Past President Bonnie V. Beaver, the AVMA Executive Board approved an AVMA-led National Animal Disaster Summit. The summit will bring together key individuals from major humane organizations and governmental agencies to evaluate recent experiences associated with natural disasters, such as hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and to develop a more efficient model to deal with similar disasters in the future. The summit will be held in spring 2006.

The summit's objectives are to identify private organizations and governmental agencies that played a major role in the 2005 hurricane animal relief efforts, bring those organizations together to identify the lessons learned during those relief efforts, and develop an animal relief effort plan for future natural disasters to overcome the obstacles identified and improve overall results.

Invited participants will include, among others, representatives from a number of organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Department of Agriculture, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Humane Society of the United States, and schools/colleges of veterinary medicine in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. One member from each AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Team will also be invited.

The summit organizing committee will consist of three members, all appointed by the AVMA Executive Board chair. One individual from the Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues will be on the committee, and the two other individuals remain to be determined. The committee will submit a report to the board that will be suitable for publication.

The recommendation from Dr. Beaver ties in with several other natural disaster-related recommendations the board approved.