Public health policies updated, reaffirmed

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The AVMA Executive Board approved several recommendations related to public health at its November meeting.

Recent occurrences of zoonotic diseases introduced into the United States, such as monkeypox, and the risks posed by other zoonotic diseases show that there's not a coordinated national effort to proactively control the health threats associated with the unrestricted trade in exotic animals, according to the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine. On recommendation from the council, the board approved the replacement of the AVMA Position Statement on Importation of Animals—Control and Inspection with the following new policy.

International and National Trade in Exotic Animals

The AVMA supports the creation of working group to formulate effective policy and to develop and implement a comprehensive approach to address the public and animal health threats associated with the international and national trade of exotic animals. The AVMA recommends that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lead the initiative to coordinate federal agencies, including the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior, and Food and Drug Administration; the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians; the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists; the American Veterinary Medical Association; and other stakeholders.

The council recommended replacing the previous policy, which suggested assigning the responsibility for regulation of the importation of all animals to the Department of Agriculture, with a new policy that focuses on a nationally coordinated plan involving local, state, and federal agencies.

On another recommendation from the CPHRVM, the board approved an amendment to the policy on U.S. Banned Drugs Used by Exporting Countries. The phrase "and enrofloxacin for use in turkeys and chickens" was added to correlate with the recent decision by the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw the approval of enrofloxacin for this use (see JAVMA, Sept. 1, 2005).

Next, the board approved amendments to the Contingency Planning for Foreign Animal Disease Emergencies, now titled Contingency Planning for Animal Emergencies, and the Training in Exotic Animal Diseases, which is now titled Training in Foreign and Emerging Animal Diseases. The board also reaffirmed the AVMA policy on Importation of Animals and Animal Products. The council reviewed all three policies as part of the five-year review directive. To view the policies, click here.

Finally, the board rescinded the AVMA policies on Customs Inspection, Health Hazards in Veterinary Practice, and Relationship of APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) to the Department of Homeland Security.