The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) launched has launched pilot grant program, which will be funded by corporate, private and public foundations. One hundred percent of the funds will benefit programs identified through the AVMA's strategic management process in the areas of animal welfare, economics and research.
The Banfield Foundation provided a commitment of $45,000 to fund the first beneficiary of the pilot grant program, 2016 Reaching UP, New Mexico, which will provide veterinary care to traditionally underserved Native American populations in New Mexico throughout the year. In addition to the grant provided by the Banfield Foundation, Banfield Pet Hospital associates will participate in the program as volunteers alongside other AVMA veterinarians.
"The Banfield Foundation is proud to partner with the AVMA to support the 2016 Reaching UP New Mexico program," said Lilisa Hall, executive director of the Banfield Foundation. "As an organization dedicated to animal welfare, education and elevating the pet-human bond, we believe that efforts to improve access to veterinary care in underserved areas are incredibly important to pets, pet owners and local communities."
Minimal access to veterinary care has led to an overpopulation of dogs, which in turn harms animal health and welfare, public health, and the human-animal bond.
"Working through Reaching UP, AVMA member veterinarians make multiple trips to the same area at strategic times, ensuring that we spay and neuter a sufficient number of animals to achieve population management goals while preserving a high standard of care," explained Dr. Kendall Houlihan, AVMA assistant director, Animal Welfare Division.
By talking with the pet owners about their animals' health and the importance of preventive care, the veterinary volunteers also provide community education about the importance of pet wellness care, as well as the connections between animal health and human health.
"The program serves as a reminder of what drives so many veterinarians to enter the profession: the opportunity to improve the health and welfare of animals and people," said Dr. Joseph Kinnarney, AVMA president. "While volunteerism is at the heart of the program, it is only truly possible through the generous donation of the Banfield Foundation."