Animal welfare, health policies updated

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Animals used in pre-college education should not be subjected to uses that cause any pain, an updated AVMA policy states.

The AVMA Board of Directors voted in November to express opposition to such uses and advocate that those who use animals in pre-college classrooms also consider risks to students from zoonotic disease and allergens. The policy, "Use of Animals in Precollege Education," already encouraged use of alternatives to live animals in pre-college classroom instruction and expressed opposition to uses that cause more than minor and momentary distress.

In addition to voting in support of legislation related to student loans and educational debt, the AVMA Board voted to support legislation that could prevent deaths of children and animals left in locked vehicles. The bill, HR 2801, would require that new passenger vehicles come with alert systems intended to remind drivers not to leave passengers in the back seats when exiting.

And, among other modifications to the AVMA's policy on eradicating tuberculosis in cattle and cervids, the AVMA now recommends that the Department of Agriculture work with animal health and public health agencies in the U.S. and other countries to share results of genome sequencing of tuberculosis strains. The AVMA also now recommends that the USDA implement management practices that minimize contact between cattle and wildlife as well as manage trade-related tuberculosis risks.