AVMA 2010: Veterinarians resolved to enter the antibiotic debate

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AVMA 2010: Veterinarians resolved to enter the antibiotic debate

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Jul 31, 2010
Atlanta -- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) House of Delegates gave the green light to two resolutions calling for greater involvement in discussions about antibiotic uses regardless of distribution channels. The assembly nixed another resolution questioning its role in accrediting foreign veterinary schools.

The action came yesterday after incoming AVMA president Larry M. Kornegay called for unity on issues of importance to veterinary medicine.

Here is a detailed look at yesterday’s actions by AVMA’s House of Delegates:

The antibiotic debate

Changes are inevitable to the way antibiotics are used on animals, veterinarians say, therefore veterinary medicine needs to be involved in the "decision-making process."

It was the impetus of two resolutions that passed unanimously yesterday. And Dr. Michael Topper explains the resolution sets policy for the association and, in turn, helps the association formalize a strategy when confronting these issues with lawmakers and government agencies like the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and the United States Department of Agriculture.

The AVMA action comes on the heels of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposal to phase out certain uses of antimicrobials within agriculture, including those used for growth promotion, as reported by DVM Newsmagazine.

The first resolution states, "the American Veterinary Medical Association believes that veterinarians should be involved in the decision-making process for the use of antimicrobials in animals regardless of the distribution channels through which the antimicrobials were obtained." The second resolution calls on the association "to be at the forefront of discussions that may impact drug availability, such as regulatory changes in veterinary oversight especially pertaining to antimicrobial use."

COE at risk?

A failed resolution introduced by the Texas Veterinary Medical Association sought a risk-benefit analysis for the association’s role in accrediting foreign veterinary schools. The resolution calls into question why the national association is "in the business of accrediting foreign veterinary schools," says Texas delegate Dr. Billy Martindale. Delegates opposed to the resolution contend that AVMA should take the lead in helping foreign veterinary schools achieve the gold standard to improve animal health. One delegate said it this way: "I want to welcome everyone to a world economy. I think we need to look at the world as a unit. Someone has to accredit foreign veterinary schools. Everyone wants to see the level of veterinary medicine increased all over the world. I think it is essential that AVMA continue it."

The action follows a March 2010 vote by TVMA leaders to petition AVMA to stop accreditation of foreign veterinary schools through COE and called into question the additional burden of time and resources it places on the national association.

"TVMA is concerned about potential international pressures being exerted on the COE from countries desiring to have their schools accredited, thereby placing an extra burden on the COE to maintain an unbiased standard for accreditation," the resolution states.