Veterinarians have a role in global food security, Association says

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A flock in Ethiopia (Photo by Shannon Mesenhowski)

"Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life," according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

A new AVMA policy states, in part: "The AVMA supports the promotion of the veterinarian's role in achieving global food security through the establishment of public and private stakeholder partnerships between veterinary and related networks. In addition, the AVMA will play an active role in leveraging AVMA member expertise in convening meetings and other opportunities to build such networks."

The AVMA Board of Directors, while meeting April 5-6, approved the new "AVMA Policy on Global Food Security." The AVMA Committee on International Veterinary Affairs wrote the policy as a follow-up to the AVMA Global Food Security Summit of early 2017.

According to background materials, the Association convened the summit as a way for the AVMA to make a visible commitment to promoting the U.S. veterinary profession's role in progressive food-production initiatives inside and outside the United States, provide tangible benefits of the Association's international activities to AVMA members, and potentially increase opportunities for U.S. veterinarians in the arena of global food security.

The committee believes that the Association's strengths lie in the ability of the AVMA to serve as a trusted convener—to bring together seemingly disparate groups to work together for a common good. The committee believes another of the Association's strengths rests with AVMA members' diverse areas of expertise—with some AVMA members already working in food security at governmental agencies, research institutions, funding agencies, and boots-on-the-ground development organizations.

The new policy combines these two strengths, according to the background, and the committee believes the policy will help focus the AVMA as the Association solidifies activities in the arena of global food security.

The AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee supported the policy, stating, "Veterinarians, as individuals and as members of associations, play a vital role in food security through their education and professional support of large-scale farmers and smallholders; work on disease eradication programs; roles in ensuring good biosecurity; public health interventions for food safety; research; capacity building; and as a source of expert advice and opinion for governments, the media, consumer groups, and the public."

Related JAVMA content:

AVMA weighs stepped-up role in global food security (April 15, 2017)