GAO report: Agency says U.S. clueless on staffing of DVM workforce

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GAO report: Agency says U.S. clueless on staffing of DVM workforce

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Mar 01, 2009

National Report — The federal government lacks a comprehensive understanding of the sufficiency of its veterinarian work force, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released in late February.

While the governmental agencies that employ veterinarians have assessed the existing shortage and future shortage of public-health veterinarians, no such assessment has been done government-wide, even though 16 of the 24 federal entities that employ veterinarians raised concerns, the GAO reports.

The biggest concern is that 27 percent of the veterinarians at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Army are eligible to retire within three years.

The GAO has made nine recommendations to improve the ability of the federal veterinarian work force to carry out routine activities, prepare for a catastrophic event and respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks.

In addition to those recommendations, Dr. Ron DeHaven was scheduled to give testimony on behalf of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) after press time in Washington. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) and the National Association of Federal Veterinarians also were scheduled to give testimony that day.

To view the complete report, visit http://www.gao.gov/