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AVMA Calls for Increased Veterinary Oversight in Meat Production; Cites USDA Audit Report Initiated After Hallmark/Westland Recall
Date:12/12/2008

cessing to prevent the animal welfare violations (http://www.avma.org/press/releases/080131_CA_slaughterhouse.asp) that caused the Hallmark/Westland recall from repeating themselves," Dr. DeHaven added.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, issued a statement on Tuesday that also emphasized the report's assessment of veterinary shortage ramifications.

"This report proves that personnel from the front-line supervisor to the public health veterinarian were over-tasked and they could not keep up with all of the inspection procedures they were charged with carrying out," said Harkin. "The public health veterinarian at the Hallmark/Westland plant was by himself, where before, there were two veterinarians assigned to the plant. If the Food Safety and Inspection Service does not assign a sufficient numbers of inspectors, supervisors and veterinarians and provide the training they require, we take a gamble with food safety and the humane treatment and slaughter of animals. These are serious shortcomings in deployment of FSIS personnel, proper training of them, and utilization and adequacy of USDA food safety budget resources."

As a solution to help meet the critical shortage of food animal veterinarians, the AVMA has been actively pursuing funding and implementation of the National Veterinary Medical Service Act, a loan repayment program that would place veterinarians in underserved areas of the veterinary profession. The Association is also pursuing the passage of the Veterinary Public Health Workforce Expansion Act, a bill that would provide veterinary schools with competitive grants to increase capacity in these shortage areas.

"The report makes it obvious that every American should be concerned about the veterinary shortage. We urge you to write your Congressional re
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SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association
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