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AVMA Recognizes Public Veterinarians Urges Congressional Action

Tuesday, May 6, 2008 General News J E 4
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WASHINGTON, May 5 The American Veterinary MedicalAssociation (AVMA) reiterated today, at the start of Public ServiceRecognition Week, its ongoing support for veterinarians working in the publicsector and urged Congress to take action to bolster resources for theseprofessionals.

Veterinarians fill essential positions at agencies, including the Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Agriculture, the US Foodand Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. But whileveterinarians play critical public service roles in food safety, bioterrorismprevention and public health protection, there is a significant void in thefunding for the profession's growth, says AVMA's president, Gregory S. Hammer,DVM.

"It is unfathomable that, despite the indispensable roles thesehardworking professionals play in protecting human food, health and security,Congress is not providing adequate funding to ensure the supply ofveterinarians to meet our nation's demand," Hammer says.

Research shows that the number of veterinarians working in key areas hasseen a sharp decline. For instance, only 17 percent of veterinarians work infood supply, which includes private and public practice veterinarians involvedin the entire food chain.

With the US population at more than 300 million and growing, this shortagecould have severe consequences. "If actions are not taken to increase thenumber of veterinarians in public service, the effects could be devastating,"Hammer says.

To remedy the problem, the AVMA has been working with Congress on a seriesof legislative programs, including the Veterinary Workforce Grant Program,which would increase the number of veterinarians trained in agriculturalbiosecurity.

"Call your congressional representative today. Tell them you value thepublic service of veterinarians and demand the Veterinary Workforce GrantProgram remain in the final version of the Farm Bill," Hammer urges.

Public Service Recognition Week is celebrated each May as a way to honorthose who serve America as federal, state and local government employees.

The AVMA and its more than 76,000 member veterinarians are engaged in awide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art ofanimal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site athttp://www.avma.org for more information.

SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association
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