Raw food diet stirs controversy, new AVMA president and vice president elected in San Diego

Raw food diet stirs controversy, new AVMA president and vice president elected in San Diego

House of Delegates vote on proposed amendments, elect Clark Fobian, DVM, president-elect.
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Aug 06, 2012
By dvm360.com staff

Raw food diets, pharmacy ethics, and president and vice president positions were discussed and voted on at the annual American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) House of Delegates (HOD) meeting in San Diego on Aug. 3.

The first proposed amendment would have included this additional paragraph at the end of the current Raw Animal-Source Protein Policy:

The AVMA recognizes that some people prefer to feed raw or undercooked animal-source protein to their pets. The AVMA recommends that veterinarians inform pet owners of potential risks and educate them on how to best mitigate the risk of pathogen exposure in both handling the food and in managing pets consuming undercooked or raw animal-source protein diets.

When incoming AVMA President Douglas Aspros, DVM, opened the floor to objections and comments, Robert Groskin, DVM, of the Association of Avian Veterinarians voiced his concerns.

“Would a medical doctor tell his patients not to smoke but then tell them, ‘If you are going to smoke, only smoke unfiltered cigarettes,’ or ‘Only smoke so many cigarettes a day'?" Groskin says. “The goal is to state that raw and undercooked food are unhealthy period.”

After the discussion, the HOD voted down this proposal with a majority vote of 66.6 percent against the amendment. The second amendment changed the existing statement “Never feed inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs” to “Avoid feeding inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs.”

This amendment passed with a majority vote of 91.9 percent in favor of the change. The HOD voted once more on the raw-food policy and the final outcome was 90.9 percent in favor of the amended resolution.

The HOD also voted on a Guidance to Pharmacy Stakeholders policy that would instruct the AVMA to engage proactively with human pharmacists to ensure health and welfare of animals receiving prescription drugs from licensed pharmacies. This includes clarification of the roles and responsibilities for counseling and educating clients when filling a veterinary prescription and communicating with pharmacy organizations to promote best practices in dispensing for veterinary patients.

This resolution passed with a vote of 90.5 percent in support of the amendment.

The AVMA says it supports the clients’ right to have their prescriptions filled wherever they choose and encourages veterinarians to honor clients’ request for written prescriptions, as stated in its Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics.

In an uncontested election, the HOD elected Clark Fobian, DVM, owner of Thompson Hills Animal Clinic in Sedalia, Mo., president-elect. Fobian served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a medic for the 5503 Army Hospital from 1972 to 1978 and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine in Columbia, Mo., in 1977.

The HOD elected Walter Threlfall, DVM, a theriogenology consultant who taught for almost 40 years at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, Ohio, to the office of vice president. A younger female veterinarian escorted Threlfall to the podium at the front of the room. Threlfall said he wanted to “show a contrast … but not really.” Threlfall says he still has the same enthusiasm for the profession as he did when he was just starting out. He will begin his official duties as AVMA vice president on Aug. 7 and serve a two-year term.

Check out the remaining AVMA election results below.

  • George Bishop, DVM: Elected to second term on House Advisory Committee.
  • Ken Bartels, DVM: Elected to second term on House Advisory Committee.

  • Mike Topper, DVM: Re-elected to House Advisory Committee for second term.

  • Gay Gira, DVM: Elected to Council on Veterinary Services.

  • Stephan Schaefbauer, DVM: Elected to Council on Public Health & Regulatory Veterinary Medicine.

  • Joanna Davis, DVM: Elected to Council on Public Health & Regulatory Veterinary Medicine.

  • Billy Martindale, DVM: Elected to AVMA Council on Education.

  • Patrick Farrell, DVM: Elected to AVMA Council on Education.

  • Mary Beth Leininger, DVM: Elected to AVMA Council on Education.

  • Edward Wakem, DVM: Elected to AVMA Council on Biological and Therapeutic agents.