From policy to politics — AVMA's other 'issues'

Key actions at the 2009 AVMA House of Delegates meeting
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Aug 01, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

SEATTLE — Fish-tossing protests aside, the docket for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) this year was full. Here's a recap of some of the issues association leaders deemed important:

Sunrise or sunset?

About three-quarters of the AVMA delegates decided it's sunset for the Council on Communications.

Why? Duplication within the association. The council's last hoorah, however, was the recommendation and subsequent approval of some $180,000 to improve the association's Web site and membership communications.

Dr. Richard Dixon, of Rome, Ga., was elected to the council during the delegates meeting, only to be cast off several hours later with the dissolution of the group.

"Someone at the meeting joked that I was hired and fired in the same day," Dixon laughs. "I told him, 'I wonder if there will be any severance pay.' "

Dixon wants to serve within the association and is looking for other opportunities to do so.

A house divided

Is AVMA's executive and legislative branch in a power struggle? Yes.

CASE IN POINT: The New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association (NJVMA), the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) and the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA) proposed bylaw changes that would have ensured resolutions referred by the House of Delegates (HOD) to standing committees, councils, advisory and ad hoc committees and task forces be returned to the HOD for further review and/or action. The amendments overwhelmingly failed.

Under the new bylaws, AVMA committees, councils and task forces will submit to the Executive Board any report they develop on a veterinary-related resolution referred by the HOD. The board will then submit a new resolution to the HOD, incorporating the findings.

Neutered policy

AVMA officials backed off a previous policy on free-roaming, abandoned and feral cats that mandated spaying and neutering unless the owner purchased a permit.

The decision to revise the policy was made earlier in the year, and the HOD voted to accept the report, which included the change in language from the Animal Welfare Division.

"It was thought to be impractical as far as enforcement, particularly in the rural setting," explains Gail Golab, director of AVMA's Animal Welfare Division.

In addition to revising that policy during the Executive Board's April meeting, the policy on dog and cat population control also was changed.

Now, both policies show "nonsupport" for mandatory spay/neuter proposals.

Call of wild answered

The American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) will have a voice on the HOD's advisory panel after the delegates overwhelmingly voted to add the group to its ranks.

The zoo veterinarians had been kept off the panel because AAZV members did not meet guidelines regarding membership. About 20 percent of its voting members reside outside the United States and are not AVMA members.

AAZV agreed to pay travel expenses of its new representative.