Ethics on veterinary organizations’ agendas

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The American Association of Equine Practitioners has clearly made ethics education a priority this year (see story). In addition to relevant continuing education sessions, the AAEP’s board of directors approved updated ethics guidelines at its meeting this past December. The main changes involved determining the types of violations that could lead to suspension of an association member, and when that would happen.

AAEP graphic: Ethical Practice Every Day-Every TimeIn addition, the AAEP has started to publish ethics case studies, similar to the AVMA PLIT’s, in its monthly newsletter and will continue to do that a few times a year. That’s in addition to articles written by AAEP Professional Conduct & Ethics Committee members in the Equine Veterinary Education journal. These efforts are part of the new Ethical Practice: Every Day, Every Time program, driven by that committee, which is chaired by Dr. Thomas Riddle.

“Another thing we want to do is have articles in lay journals that our clients could read that talk about the importance of good ethics. I think that’s going to be really important because clients need to understand the issues that veterinarians face,” he said.

The AAEP isn’t the only one with an eye on promoting ethical behavior among its members.

The American Association of Bovine Practitioners’ board of directors approved the creation of an Ethics Task Force last year with a charge of reviewing the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics and determining whether there were any ethical issues specific to cattle practice that the AABP should address in the form of guidelines or a position statement. The task force has worked over the past year to create guidelines, and the AABP board expects to discuss the completed document at its meeting in March.

Plus, the topic of ethics came up in the agenda items for the Jan. 13-14 AVMA House of Delegates session. During its Veterinary Issues Forum, an open discussion in which House members address high-profile issues of importance to AVMA member veterinarians, one of the topics the HOD addressed was transparency in veterinarians’ acceptance of sponsorships, rebates, equipment, and free goods. News coverage of that discussion will be available in the March 1 issue of JAVMA.