Board revises public health, animal agriculture policies

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The AVMA Executive Board deliberated on a miscellany of recommendations within the areas of public health and regulatory veterinary medicine, food safety, biologic and therapeutic agents, and animal agriculture.

The board revised the AVMA policy on "Importation and Interstate Movement of Exotic and Native Wildlife" to emphasize that science should be the basis for evaluating health concerns relevant to movement of wildlife. The board also approved covering travel expenses for the AVMA liaison to the National Poultry Improvement Plan at a cost of $2,000 biennially, starting in 2010. Both actions were on the recommendation of the Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine.

On a recommendation from the Food Safety Advisory Committee, the board revised the AVMA policy on "National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System" to encourage timely reporting of NARMS data and to mention all the arms of the system—the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On a recommendation from the Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents, the board revised the AVMA guidelines for autogenous biologics to harmonize them with the USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics' recent revisions of approval procedures and timelines relative to autogenous biologics.

The board approved two revisions recommended by the AVMA Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee to the National Animal Identification System policy.

Intended to make the system more effective, the revisions call for state and federal animal health officials to have 24-hour access to identification databases and encourage the immediate inclusion of imported animals into the national ID system.

In the policy, the sixth key element for an effective national ID system now reads as follows: "Database(s) that are accessible 24 hours a day and 7 days a week by State and Federal animal health officials."

And a 10th key element was added to the policy: "The incorporation of all imported animals into the NAIS immediately upon their arrival, unless going directly to slaughter, while also maintaining country of origin identity within the database."

The AALC had recommended changing the policy to support a phased-in compliance scheme for producers, but the board instead kept the original language calling for rapid implementation of the program.

In addition, the board approved minor revisions to the following policies: "Foreign Animal Disease Laboratories," "USDA Section 1433 Animal Health and Disease Research Funds," and "Colleges/Schools of Veterinary Medicine Infrastructure Funding." The changes reflect the AVMA's support for adequate and ongoing government funding for the areas outlined in each of the policies.