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Pit bulls, Pigs and Barracudas: The AVMA Calls on McCain and Obama to Help Keep America's Animals Healthy

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 General News J E 4
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 Pigs, pit bulls, donkeys andelephants -- the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today remindedpresidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama that America'sveterinarians play vital roles in preserving and protecting both human andanimal health -- lipstick or not.

Speaking from their headquarters just outside of Chicago, the AVMA's chiefexecutive challenged the candidates to integrate into their platformspositions in support of veterinary medicine, food safety and animal health andwell-being.

"Animal and human health are nonpartisan issues, and we call on SenatorsMcCain and Obama to honor America's citizens by supporting measures to protectthem from zoonotic diseases, food safety outbreaks and animal-relatedbioterrorism," said Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, Chief Executive Officer of the AVMA.

America's veterinarians, Dr. DeHaven said, are helping keep healthy andsafe a national ecosystem abounding with animals. "Whether the eagles thatsoar through our airways or the barracudas that cruise our coastal borders,America's veterinarians are the first-line of protectors of the health of ournation's animals," DeHaven said.

"Unfortunately, our nation is heading toward a crisis because there areonly 85,000 veterinarians to keep all of these animals and the humans incontact with them healthy," he added.

The AVMA urged the candidates to pledge leadership on these key issuesaffecting the United States:

-- America faces a dangerous shortage of veterinarians -- especially incritical rural areas, where food animals are typically raised and inspected.The new President will need to champion measures for growing the number ofveterinarians and recruiting more to serve in rural areas.

-- Crucial food safety programs and resources, such as the Food AnimalResidue Avoidance Databank (FARAD), are frequently underfunded or at risk ofclosure, and the new President must take strong stances to preserve them.

-- The AVMA calls on the new President to ensure that veterinarians areappointed to lead the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service andthe Food Safety Inspection Service.

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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