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AVMA Declares Preliminary Victory on Farm Bill Provisions
Date:5/14/2008

WASHINGTON, May 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) declared a preliminary victory on several key provisions included in the Farm Bill, applauding Congress and pledging to continue working toward the implementation of unresolved initiatives.

Reaching final negotiation in a joint U.S. House of Representatives and Senate conference committee, the Farm Bill includes legislation on human and animal health that ranges from food safety protection and bioterrorism prevention to the importation of healthy puppies.

The AVMA acknowledged the possibility of a presidential veto of the bill and called for continued congressional support. "The pro-health and pro-food safety provisions in the Farm Bill are breakthroughs for public and animal health, and Congress must continue its impressive work to make them law," said Mark T. Lutschaunig, VMD, director of the AVMA's Governmental Relations Division.

Lutschaunig cited the Senate Agriculture Committee for authorizing $2.5 million annually for the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD), a vital resource used to ensure contaminants do not end up in meat, milk and eggs.

The AVMA also commended Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, for drafting language for the National Veterinary Medical Service Act (NVMSA), and Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., for helping insert the Regional Centers of Excellence provision, which includes veterinary medicine. Both provisions made it to the final version of the Farm Bill.

Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., inserted an AVMA-supported amendment that would mandate that dogs imported into the United States are healthy and have received all necessary vaccinations. The amendment would protect animal health, animal welfare and public health by addressing reports of puppies imported in poor physical condition.

While the AVMA recognized the legislative successes in the Farm Bill, it renewed its commitment to work for appropriations for these programs and also toward passage of legislation that did not make it into the final Farm Bill. For example, the Veterinary Workforce Grant Program, which did not survive, can still be passed as a separate bill, The Veterinary Public Health Workforce Expansion Act.

The AVMA and its more than 76,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site at http://www.avma.org for more information.


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SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association
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