The American Veterinary Medical Association today urged the U.S. Senate not to support a mandatory prescription writing bill, applauded Congress for passing a bill with appropriations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and condemned an egg producer for alleged mistreatment of its hens.
The AVMA applauded its members for helping stall H.R. 1406, the Fairness to Pet Owners Act., in the U.S. House of Representatives but said efforts are underway to introduce similar legislation in the Senate. The bill would require veterinarians to write a prescription at the time of prescribing a product for a companion animal, regardless of whether or not the veterinarian is dispensing the product to a client. It would also require veterinarians to provide a written disclosure notifying the pet owner that they may fill the prescription through the prescriber or another pharmacy.
The association called H.R. 1406 unnecessary and redundant because of the AVMA’s long-standing policy encouraging veterinarians to write a prescription in lieu of dispensing when a client would like to use a different pharmacy.
The AVMA had previously called upon its members to contact their representatives after Walmart issued a statement of support for the bill. See the previous Veterinary Practice News story here.
The AVMA also expressed relief and concern after President Obama signed the $182 billion spending package today that includes funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture animal health, research, livestock production and food-safety programs in the 2012 fiscal year. Though the bill includes less total funding than in 2011, it maintains continuous support for research on agricultural issues, including livestock diseases and food safety, and it maintains the nation’s investment in land-grant and other agricultural colleges and universities. However, Mark Lutschaunig, director of the AVMA governmental relations division, said the AVMA’s Congressional Advocacy Network needs to continue influencing Congress to maintain or increase funding to those programs in fiscal year 2013.
Finally, the AVMA condemned egg producer Sparboe Farms today for its handling of hens at one of its facilities and praised McDonald’s for ending its relationship with the Litchfield, Minn.-based company as a supplier. McDonald’s terminated its relationship with Sparboe after a four-minute video shot by animal rights activist organization Mercy for Animals became public. The video, shot at a Sparboe operation in Iowa, depicts what the AVMA called unacceptable handling of hens and their housing.
The AVMA’s positions on all three topics can be found on its website.