Policies address carcass disposal, resource conservation, wild animals

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The AVMA Executive Board, on recommendation from the Committee on Environmental Issues, approved one new policy and three policy changes relevant to protecting the environment, including wild animals.

The new policy concerns disposal of animal carcasses. The text reads as follows:

Appropriate Animal Carcass Disposal

The AVMA advocates safe and environmentally responsible disposal of animal carcasses, whether on an individual animal basis or during mass mortality events. As such, the AVMA supports increased research and education towards the development of appropriate methods and guidelines for animal carcass disposal.

According to background from the CEI, the disposal of animal carcasses is becoming increasingly problematic. Safe methods are needed for disposal of carcasses from animals that die during a disease outbreak or natural disaster, animals that might have spongiform encephalopathies, and animals that die of routine causes and for disposal of carcasses that contain toxic substances or certain drug residues. In many cases, traditional disposal techniques, such as rendering, incineration, and burial, are no longer feasible, practical, or legal.

The CEI believes that increased research toward the development of appropriate methods for carcass disposal will assist veterinarians, animal owners, universities, industry, and others facing difficulties in responding to various scenarios.

Also on recommendation of the CEI, the board approved expanding the policy on "Recycling and Resource Conservation" to encourage energy conservation and other green practices. The policy now reads as follows:

Recycling and Resource Conservation

The AVMA supports conservation of natural resources by encouraging green practices including, but not limited to, minimizing waste, reducing energy consumption, maximizing electronic communication, recycling, and utilizing recycled products by its offices, employees, councils, committees, members and others.

The board renamed the policy on "Conservation of Wild and Exotic Animals" as the policy on "Conservation of Wild Animals." The board approved revisions to the text, including the addition of a line to emphasize the AVMA's role as an advocate for animals and animal health.

The board broadened and contemporized the policy "Endangered Species Act." The policy now emphasizes AVMA support for scientific evidence to be the basis for listing and delisting endangered species and for natural resource management to target naturally sustainable populations.