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AVMA Tells Nation’s Leaders: Get Back To Work

The Schaumburg, Ill.-based organization urged Congress to reach a budget agreement.

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The Schaumburg, Ill.-based organization urged Congress to reach a budget agreement.

"Not only is Congress affecting the lives of more than 800,000 federal employees by its lack of action, it is compromising the health and well-being of millions of animals,” said Ron DeHaven, DVM, the AVMA’s CEO. "Each day that the U.S. government is shut down, we are faced with a dwindling supply of available vaccines to keep livestock healthy, a lack of inspections that protect animals from abuse, and a dearth of food safety inspections.”

Among the veterinary offices and programs affected by the shutdown are:

• The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Center for Veterinary Biologics. The agency, which is closed, verifies the safety of animal vaccines before releasing them into the marketplace.

"Most food-producing companies only hold a one- or two-week inventory of major vaccines, meaning that they could soon run out of their supply if the [Center for Veterinary Biologics] is unable to release new batches after a two-week period,” AVMA reported. "Food-animal producers may soon be forced not to vaccinate their flocks or herds, which will endanger herd health, food safety and public health.”

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office that inspects pet breeders, zoos and research facilities to ensure animals get proper care. The work has been suspended.

• Food and Drug Administration inspections of seafood and dairy products. The work will be suspended, AVMA stated, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service will continue inspections of meat and poultry products.

• Veterinary research approved for funding by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Grants to researchers may be delayed.

• The Centers for Disease Control, which monitors human health and safety as well as food-borne illnesses. The agency’s staff has been reduced.

"We look to our elected officials in Congress, especially those who are part of the U.S. House Veterinary Medicine Caucus, to exert their leadership and help Congress rise above the partisan bickering to do what is right for both Americans and our nation’s livestock and pets,” Dr. DeHaven said.

Two congressmen and veterinarians—Kurt Schrader, an Oregon Democrat, and Ted Yoho, a Florida Republican—established the caucus in March with the goal of raising awareness about veterinary medicine and its role in research, health and the economy.

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