The American Veterinary Medical Association urged Senate and House conferees to quickly pass H.R. 2112, the consolidated appropriations package, and to maintain the agriculture funding levels set in the Senate version of the bill.
The House and the Senate have each passed a version of the bill that would provide funding to certain programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012. The bill would provide appropriations to the U.S. departments of agriculture, commerce, justice, transportation, and housing and urban development. The House and Senate each sent conferees to resolve differences in the respective versions of the bill.
In a letter sent today to the House and Senate conferees, AVMA governmental relations division director Mark Lutschaunig, VMD, M.B.A., applauded lawmakers for including funding in the bill for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, and for Animal Health and Disease Research. He urged the conferees to prioritize funding for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Food Safety Inspection Service, Agricultural Research Service and the Agriculture and Food Research Institute, and the Center for Veterinary Medicine.
The AVMA opposed some measures in the proposed versions of the bill, including language that would disrupt the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process of genetically engineered salmon and language preventing the USDA from resuming inspections of horse-processing facilities. The AVMA also expressed its support for a well-funded Animal Disease Traceability system that would trace a diseased animal back to its farm of origin within 48 hours of a discovered infection.