Washington - 5-5/2008 - As Public Service Recognition Week kicks off today, officials at the American Veterinary Medical Association called on Congress to unlock funds to help veterinary educators recruit and train DVMs for this sector.
Washington - 5-5/2008 - As Public Service Recognition Week kicks off today, officials at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) called on Congress to unlock funds to help veterinary educators recruit and train DVMs for this sector.
The funding is needed to help fill shortages of veterinarians in rural communities and at government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health, reports AVMA President Gregory S. Hammer.
The association urges lawmakers to keep proposed funding in this year's Farm Bill.
"It is unfathomable that -- despite the indispensable roles thesehardworking professionals play in protecting human food, health andsecurity -- Congress is not providing adequate funding to ensure the supplyof veterinarians to meet our nation's demand," Hammer says in a prepared statement.
AVMA contends that the number of veterinarians working in key public- health areas has seen a sharp decline. For example, only 17 percent of veterinarians work in food supply, which includes private and public-practice veterinarians involved in the food chain, the association reports.
"If actions are not taken to increase the number of veterinarians in public service, the effects could be devastating," Hammer adds.
To remedy the problem, AVMA has been working with Congress on aseries of legislative programs, including the Veterinary Workforce GrantProgram, which would increase the number of veterinarians trained inagricultural biosecurity.
Public Service Recognition Week is celebrated each May as a way tohonor those who serve America as federal, state and local governmentemployees.