AVMA praises increased funding for veterinary diagnostics, rural veterinary care
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is pleased with funding levels provided for veterinary priorities in the bipartisan spending agreement passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. The bill maintains and increases funding for important animal health and welfare programs housed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration, and National Institutes of Health.
"AVMA has worked closely with Congress on funding for key veterinary programs, and we're thrilled to see lawmakers recognize the importance of these initiatives," said AVMA President Dr. John de Jong. "This funding will undoubtedly help improve animal health, public health and animal welfare across the country."
Of particular importance to veterinary medicine, the bill provides funding to fill anticipated workforce needs for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a planned biocontainment laboratory for the study of diseases that threaten both animal agriculture and public health. Congress also included an increase of $10.6 million for veterinary diagnostics within the USDA's Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service to support NBAF efforts.
Additionally, the bill increases funding for animal health research, including an increase of $15 million for the USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. The agreement also increases funding for the Veterinary Services Grant Program – which helps address rural shortages of food animal and public health veterinarians through educational efforts or practice enhancement – from $2.5 million to $3 million.
AVMA looks forward to working with Congress to provide these programs with ongoing and stable funding in fiscal year 2020.
The AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, speaking for more than 100,000 member veterinarians across the United States who care passionately about protecting animal health, animal welfare and human health. Informed by its members' unique scientific training and knowledge, the AVMA advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and support the crucial work of veterinarians nationwide.