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AVMA president testifies before Senate committee

Article

Washington-Dr. Jack O. Walther has urged Congress to commit more federal funds toward battling chronic wasting (CWD) disease in elk and deer herds.

Washington-Dr. Jack O. Walther has urged Congress to commit more federal funds toward battling chronic wasting (CWD) disease in elk and deer herds.

Dr. Jack O. Walther

Walther, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works' Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water.

According to AVMA, he spoke in favor of bill 1366, which calls for a $20.5 million appropriation to assist states and Indian tribes in developing long-term management and response strategies against the disease.

"Veterinarians have a long history of positively impacting the health and well-being of humans, animals and the environment," Walther says. "Today, many veterinarians are dedicating their professional skills to studying chronic wasting disease and other diseases that affect both animals and humans."

CWD has affected deer and elk in 12 states and two Canadian provinces. The disease is one of many transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. It presents a serious and growing threat to wildlife and state and local economics, the AVMA reports.

Walther emphasizes that federal funds are needed to ensure continued testing and surveillance of the disease.

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