Executive Board addresses hot topics in veterinary profession

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Executive Board Chair Robert “Bud” Hertzog

The AVMA Executive Board approved recommendations involving some of the more pertinent issues in the veterinary profession—national disaster response, concerns over the unwanted and retired horse population, and national microchip standards for companion animals—at its meeting Nov. 17-19. Dr. Robert Hertzog, District VII, chaired the meeting, which was held at Association headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill.

On a recommendation from AVMA Immediate Past President Bonnie V. Beaver, the board approved an AVMA-led National Animal Disaster Summit. The summit will bring together key individuals from major humane organizations and government 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 (see article).

Also related to disaster response, the board approved a concept to extend the AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Team program to include focus at the state and local level. According to the Committee on Disaster and Emergency Issues, the VMAT program could serve as a comprehensive system for training and accrediting state veterinary assistance teams, some of them already in existence (see article).

Other meeting highlights included the board's approval to develop legislation that would address concerns over the unwanted horse population. The board's decision follows the AVMA's recent efforts to defeat the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503) and any related amendments to the FY 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill (see article). In relation to that action, the board approved a payment of $1,000 in dues for the AVMA to participate in the Unwanted Horse Summit Coalition.

Also of note, the board reaffirmed the AVMA position to support standards established for radio frequency identification of animals by the International Organization for Standardization. In addition, the board adopted objectives and four key elements as a basis for developing and implementing a national radio frequency identification standard for companion animals, birds, and equids (see article). The Council on Veterinary Service was charged with developing the recommendations after the House of Delegates in July 2005 passed a resolution directing the AVMA to take an active role in defining, recommending, endorsing, and implementing a national microchip standard for companion animals, birds, and equids.

Overall, the board authorized $103,300 from the contingency fund and $16,300 from the reserve fund at the November meeting. Turn to pages 170 to 182 for detailed coverage.