US Senate establishes a new Veterinary Medical Caucus

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The move is being applauded by organizations that include the AVMA and AAVMC

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The US Senate has created a new Veterinary Medicine Caucus to raise awareness about veterinarians’ contributions to society and to educate lawmakers about challenges facing the profession. The caucus will also focus on advancing legislation that will benefit the veterinary industry and addressing policy challenges such as a shortage of public service and rural large animal veterinarians.1,2

“Veterinarians provide a critical service to farmers, ranchers, and families,” said Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn), co-chair of the bipartisan caucus with Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss), in a news release. “The [caucus] will give Congress new opportunities to work with veterinarians across the country to better support medical advancements, protect our nation's food supply, and to ensure the prevention of animal disease.”1

The caucus plans to focus on the wellbeing of animals1 and the many different roles veterinarians serve in support of public health, the nation’s food supply, and medical research. Caucus members will inform public policy that recognizes veterinarians in all forms of clinical practice and nonclinical roles. These nonclinical roles include meat and poultry inspection; comparative medical research that benefit both humans and animals; and animal and zoonotic disease prevention, detection and response, according to the senators.2

“The challenges facing the veterinary profession have the potential to harm broad segments of our society, particularly in rural America where a growing shortage of large animal veterinarians is critical. We formed this bipartisan caucus to focus attention on those issues in order to develop and enact policies that make this vital industry stronger,” said Hyde-Smith, in a news release.2

Veterinary organizations have applauded the establishment of the Senate caucus, noting that the House Veterinary Medicine Caucus has impacted veterinary medicine through key legislation that includes the Healthy Dog Importation Act. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Senate caucus will extend the efforts of the House caucus and also help to secure funding for federal programs related to veterinary medicine.3

“Veterinarians have the unique perspective as health professionals who play a leadership role in protecting the health of animals, humans, and the environment, and amplifying this perspective is critical to the well-being of our society,” said Rena Carlson, DVM, president of the AVMA, in an organizational release. “Promoting, protecting, and advancing the veterinary profession are 3 of the AVMA’s guiding principles and we are thrilled that the Senate has established a Veterinary Medicine Caucus that will help to achieve these goals in Congress.”3

Carlson noted that the AVMA and the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) are committed to working with the caucus on their initiatives. She and Andrew T. Maccabe, DVM, JD, CEO of the AAVMC, both expressed appreciation for the caucus and the support of its co-chairs. “We look forward to working with them and the other members of the Caucus. Together, we will continue to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment around the world by advancing academic veterinary medicine," said Mccabe, in the organizational release.3

Other members of the Senate caucus include Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark), and US Senators Mike Braun (R-Ind), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo), Roger Marshall, MD (R-Kan), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Tina Smith (D-Minn), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss).2

References

  1. Klobuchar, Hyde-Smith announce the Veterinary Medical Caucus. News release. US Senator Amy Klobuchar. August 3, 2023. Accessed August 11, 2023. https://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/news-releases?ID=71565096-71AC-4298-8994-6710B5C75ED8
  2. Hyde-Smith & Klobuchar announce creation of Senate Veterinary Medicine Caucus. News release. US Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. August 3, 2023. Accessed August 11, 2023. https://www.hydesmith.senate.gov/hyde-smith-klobuchar-announce-creation-senate-veterinary-medicine-caucus
  3. AVMA and AAVMC applaud first-ever Senate Veterinary Medicine Caucus. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. August 10, 2023. Accessed August 11, 2023. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/avma-and-aavmc-applaud-first-ever-senate-veterinary-medicine-caucus
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