AVMA takes international stage
The AVMA further established its stake in global veterinary affairs at a handful of recent international meetings.
Association leaders traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, to attend the 30th World Veterinary Congress, held Oct. 10-14, along with about 2,000 other attendees from 140 countries.
The AVMA leaders represented U.S. veterinarians' interests in areas such as antimicrobial use during the first World Veterinary Association Summit: "Antimicrobials: use them responsibly today to safeguard them for tomorrow," which was held concurrently with the Congress. Participants discussed the benefits and challenges encountered with using antimicrobials in veterinary medicine. Among the summit's many speakers was Dr. Lyle P. Vogel, AVMA councilor to the World Veterinary Association, who gave a presentation on the WVA position on the responsible use of antimicrobials, which is consistent with the AVMA's perspective.
Also under discussion at the Congress were the benefits of an open-access digital repository of veterinary information as well as prerequisites for the sustainability of a digitization project, such as the importance of collaboration across the veterinary community.
Almost all the scientific wildlife sessions during the Congress were presented by South African wildlife experts. The program explored in depth the triangle formed by the human-animal-ecosystem interface, with veterinarians central to this relationship.
One session, titled "Aquatic Veterinary Epidemiology and Biosecurity for Vets," touched on the sense of urgency for aquatic veterinary medicine to address global food security. Speakers included Dr. David Scarfe, assistant director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division, and Dr. Chris Walster, secretary of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association.
WVA changes require discussion
Meanwhile, the World Veterinary Association's main bodies—the Presidents Assembly, the Council, and the Executive Committee—held meetings. The Presidents Assembly always takes place during the WVC, meaning that members can have discussions and make decisions every two or three years.
The main items on the agenda for the Presidents Assembly were the amendments to the WVA Constitution and Bylaws. Proposed changes to the constitution included alterations to the categories of membership and the structure for representation on the Council. Proposed changes to the bylaws included modifications to the qualifications for association membership, to the officer structure and nomination and election process, and to the frequency of the Presidents Assembly meetings.
After much discussion, Greece made a motion to postpone the vote on the amendments. AVMA President René A. Carlson spoke in support of the motion for postponement for reasons that included confusion over many of the amendments because they were poorly communicated to the Presidents Assembly and lack of justification for the proposed changes.
The motion passed.
Dr. Carlson then made a motion to have a special committee appointed to further review the constitution and bylaws to evaluate the proposed changes, provide a rationale for them, and solicit member comments. That motion also passed.
Another main issue on the agenda was the election of officers and councilors for 2011-2014. New officers are Dr. Faouzi Kechrid of Tunisia, president, and Drs. Johnson S.M. Chiang of Taiwan and Duane C. Landals of Edmonton, Alberta, as the association's two vice presidents. Dr. Vogel was re-elected as one of two councilors representing North America.
Vet2011 comes to a close
Rounding out the World Veterinary Congress, the WVA organized the closing ceremony of World Veterinary Year, which featured South African speakers, cultural music, and dance performers. The event was meant to reflect the hundreds of global events celebrating the profession's 250th anniversary in 2011.
Dr. Bernard Vallat, director general of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and president of the Vet2011 executive committee, and Professor Jean-François Chary, president of the Vet2011 animation and coordination committee, were on hand to commemorate the importance of these events for the veterinary profession, veterinary education, and society.
Dr. Carlson participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by Dr. Landals, titled "Where do we go from here?" Other participants included Dr. Stéphane Martinot, dean of the National Veterinary School of Lyon, France, and Dr. David Wilkins, chief veterinary officer for the World Society for the Protection of Animals. The panelists talked about the future of the veterinary profession, veterinary education, and their vision for the importance of veterinary medicine to society.
Drs. Carlson and Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO, had the opportunity to attend the International Veterinary Officers Council meeting directly after the WVC, from Oct. 14-16 in Franschhoek, South Africa. The IVOC is a forum that brings together veterinary association leaders from the AVMA, the British Veterinary Association, the Australian Veterinary Association, the Canadian VMA, the New Zealand Veterinary Association, and the South African VMA to discuss issues they have in common.
Economic and educational concerns of the profession, pet wellness and preventive health care initiatives, member recruitment and retention, feminization of the profession, complementary and alternative therapies, and live animal exports and long-distance transport were the main issues of discussion.