AABP moves to adopt 'down cow' policy
Madison, Wis.-The American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) moved to adopt a "down cow" position statement that recommends humane treatment for any animal disabled.
The adoption of the position was one of several measures taken at its annual meeting in September.
The down cow statement originated with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the action by AABP's board of directors added a needed position to its books.
Dr. Jim Reynolds, chair of AABP's animal welfare committee, says that the committee recommended passage of the AVMA policy and it will help guide its members and producer groups in handling disabled livestock.
The new policy gives practitioners and producers guidance in handling ambulatory animals and non-ambulatory animals.
The policy says, "If an otherwise healthy animal has been recently injured and the animal is ambulatory, it should be treated, shipped directly to a state of federally inspected slaughter plant, humanely slaughtered on the farm (where state laws permit) or euthanized. Injured ambulatory animals should not be commingled with other animals during transport."
The policy also states that care should be taken during loading, unloading and handling of these animals to prevent further injury.
For non-ambulatory downed animals, the producer should contact a veterinarian for assistance and provide food, water, shelter and appropriate nursing care to keep the animal comfortable.
For nonterminal markets (sale yard or auction), if the animal is in extreme distress and the condition is obviously irreversible, the animal should be euthanized immediately or humanely slaughtered on the farm.
If the animal is down at a market, but in extreme distress, treatment measures should be initiated. For animals in extreme distress, the animal should be humanely euthanized or slaughtered.
The AABP's animal welfare committee also reviewed and endorsed "caring for dairy animals" technical reference and evaluation guide from the Dairy Quality Assurance Center.
Dr. David McClary reports the association doled out $21,000 for the Amstutz Scholarship program. AABP awarded 14 third-year veterinary students $1,500 scholarships because of their interest in pursuing bovine veterinary medicine.
These awards are paid by The Amstutz Scholarship Fund, Eli Lilly & Co. Foundation on behalf of Elanco Animal Health and private donations.
McClary says the scholarship was created to spur interest in bovine veterinary medicine, and it is working. In fact, Dr. Jennifer M. Ivany, an AABP scholarship committee member, put together a survey of past recipients. Out of 30 respondents, five veterinarians are in dairy practice, and another seven practitioners are in mixed animal practice. Three of the respondents are at universities, but half of the respondents were not yet working. More than half of the respondents said the scholarship helped them with expenses during the year. To date, the organization has awarded $120,000 to scholarship recipients, McClary says.
According to Dr. Jim Jarrett, executive vice president of AABP, total attendance was logged at about 2,100, with 1,300 veterinarians. About 10 countries were represented, and the conference boasted 360 total hours of continuing education for practitioners.
So, what's in the works for next year? Conference planners are currently working on a pain management symposium for 2003 meeting in Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 18-20.
Dr. Patty Scharko was also named president of the association. She succeeds Dr. Kent Ames to the post.