Defining an organization

Published on October 01, 2010
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Members of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners voted down a proposal that would have changed the last word of their organization's name to "Veterinarians."

Hundreds of AABP members defeated the name-change resolution with a clear majority during the AABP's annual business meeting Aug. 21 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Proponents had hoped the change would help clarify whom the organization represents.

"Additionally, using 'veterinarian' in our name will give more credibility and relevance in our communications on topics such as animal welfare and food safety," Dr. Dick Wallace had said.

The debate prior to the vote indicated members in attendance had a mix of reasons for opposing the measure, with some arguing that the change did not go far enough.

Dr. Keith Sterner had said that, if the proposed name were intended to increase public understanding, the organization should also replace the word "Bovine" with "Cattle."

"If we're going to make a change, it should be all the way; there should be no ambiguity in the future what we're about," Dr. Sterner had said. "We're about cattle, and we are veterinarians who are here to protect their health and public safety."

Dr. Jim Ehrlich, of Argyle, N.Y., had argued that a name change could cause more harm than good, particularly regarding domain name availability, search results, and existing publications. He also advocated that, although members include veterinarians in education, research, pharmaceutical industries, and public relations, the association should remain by and for practitioners on the front lines of medicine.

"I am certainly proud to be a veterinarian, but I am doubly proud to be a practitioner," he had said.