Blog: After nine innings, debate over veterinary college accreditation is over


Four resolutions targeting COE defeated by AVMA House of Delegates.

For nearly four years, a group of critics within the profession has attacked The American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA COE) and its role in accrediting veterinary colleges. Although the critics numbered less than 1 percent of the profession, they managed to place their issues at center stage for veterinary discussions all these years. That changed July 10 in Boston with the actions of the AVMA House of Delegates.

Each of four resolutions favored by COE's critics were voted down resoundingly (between 71 percent to 91 percent) by the Delegates, including the formation of an AVMA task force calling for more study and deliberation. What's interesting is that a powerful argument made on the floor of the House of Delegates was that younger veterinarians wanted the AVMA to focus on more important issues of relevance to current practitioners. That sentiment was obvious in conversations with veterinarians of all ages throughout the AVMA convention.

When a team is ahead after nine innings in baseball, the game is over. It doesn't matter if the other team still believes they are a better team and could win if the game kept going. That is the situation now with the attack on the COE and its volunteer members. The profession has spoken through its governing House of Delegates from every corner of the country and the veterinary profession.

Critics may continue to demand front-page coverage and insist they are right. But at some point, veterinarians in the United States have the right to move on to other pressing issues, and the COE should be allowed to do its job. That's where we are after the votes in Boston, appropriately in the shadow of Fenway Park.

Mark Cushing, JD, is founding partner of the Animal Policy Group, providing government relations and strategic services for various animal health, veterinary and educational interests. He maintains offices in Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C., and is a frequent speaker at veterinary conferences.

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