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AVMA Revises Policy On Antimicrobials In Livestock Feeds

The AVMA’s House of Delegates has officially chosen to revise their policy on Antimicrobials in Livestock Feeds.

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The American Veterinary Medical Association’s House of Delegates has revised its policy on Antimicrobials in Livestock Feeds.

The approval of Resolution 6, one of the resolutions to receive the most attention from delegates at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference on Jan. 10 in Chicago, was reported in the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Proponents of Resolution 6, submitted by the American Association of Avian Pathologists, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association, explained that it amends the AVMA policy to stress the need to proactively address antimicrobial resistance through science-based risk analysis.

The revised policy, available here reads in part:

“The AVMA supports a transparent FDA drug approval process that is rigorous and based on substantial scientific evidence supported by data and that includes an assessment of food safety. The AVMA believes FDA must continue to rely on robust antimicrobial resistance surveillance (e.g., National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System) and on science to evaluate possible public health impacts. Because of the national interest in ensuring food safety and public health and because of the interstate movement of animals and products in modern food production, the AVMA believes that a nationally coordinated effort is the only way to effectively address the issue of antimicrobial resistance.

“All regulatory or legislative actions should be transparent and based on scientific risk analysis. Risk analysis should continue to evaluate the risks and benefits to animal health and welfare in addition to the risks and benefits to human health attributed to uses in animals. Risk analysis includes risk assessment, risk communication, and risk management actions that are commensurate with the level of actual risk. Risk management options are not limited to withdrawal of approval of use; review by the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee; and limitations of use such as use in only certain species or changing to a Veterinary Feed Directive drug.”

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The HOD disapproved Resolution 9, a different proposal to amend the same policy. The resolution was submitted by the New Jersey and Maine Veterinary Medical Associations, which said they would revise the policy to emphasize the role of the veterinarian as the only individual with the authority to allow use of antimicrobials in livestock feeds.

The concerns were that if Resolution 9 were approved, “the AVMA would be committed to supporting broad legislative and regulatory initiatives to limit or restrict the availability of over-the-counter antimicrobials in livestock feeds in circumstances when no scientific basis for doing so exists and when the infrastructure is not in place to ethically manage the increased workload,” JAVMA reported.

The HOD also dealt with a number of other issues at the conference, such as veterinary student debt relief.

The following proposals were approved, as reported by JAVMA:

  • Resolution 1 directs the AVMA to urge the Department of Agriculture to make student loan debt relief available for veterinary diagnosticians and veterinarians pursuing residencies and advanced degrees who work in food animal veterinary diagnostic laboratories. The resolution was submitted by the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians and American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians.
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  • Resolution 3 revises the Manual of the House of Delegates to allow reference committees to submit resolutions that pertain to the business of the committee, for consideration by the HOD. The resolution was submitted by the House Advisory Committee.
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  • Resolution 4 calls on the AVMA to urge the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service to re-establish and fill the position of chief veterinary public health officer. The resolution was submitted by the HAC, American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians and National Association of Federal Veterinarians.
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  • Resolution 5 revises the HOD Manual so that council positions that remain open for too long can be temporarily reclassified to at-large positions. The resolution was submitted by the HAC.
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  • Resolution 7 directs the AVMA to continue its support of the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Experience for an additional four years after the current support ends with the conclusion of the 2009 AVMA VLE. The resolution was submitted by the Missouri, Rhode Island and Florida Veterinary Medical Associations.
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  • Resolution 10 is the new AVMA policy on Veal Calf Management, which supersedes the policies Veal Calf Welfare and Veal Calf Housing. The resolution was submitted by the AVMA Executive Board.
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The HOD disapproved Resolution 2, which would have changed the service of council members from a six-year to a three-year term.

Resolution 8, which would have allowed nonweighted voting for informational purposes only in the HOD following official weighted voting on animal welfare resolutions, was withdrawn by the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association.

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