The House of Representatives bipartisan member organization has reestablished itself for the fifth congressional cycle. Through this group, veterinarians will work to educate members of Congress and their staff on issues critical to the profession and raise awareness of the importance of veterinary medicine.
The organization will be led by representatives Kurt Schrader, DVM (Oregon), who is the sole veterinarian in Congress and helped established the caucus in 2013, and Dusty Johnson (South Dakota), who currently serves on the Committee on Agriculture and is the ranking member of the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee.
“Veterinarians are routinely the only health professionals that operate at the interface of human and animal health,” Dr. Schrader says. “The caucus will work to highlight the important role veterinary medicine plays on research, public health, animal health and welfare, food safety, and the economy. As our country continues battling the novel coronavirus, we feel the caucus can play a critical role in keeping members informed about the ongoing challenges we face with zoonotic diseases and public health and we look forward to being part of that discussion.”
The caucus previously led the introduction of several legislations impacting veterinary medicine, including the VET MED Act, the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, and the One Health Act.
Moving forward, the group, which works closely with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), aims to secure funding for important veterinary-related federal programs by organizing congressional briefings and gaining support for these initiatives.
“The Veterinary Medicine Caucus has been successful in stressing the importance of veterinary priorities to Congress,” says AVMA president, Douglas Kratt, DVM. “The veterinarian community has established itself as essential in matters of scientific research, public health, and the economy. AVMA and AAVMC will work diligently with the caucus and its cochairs to ensure the perspective of the veterinarian is well-represented in Washington, D.C., and will make issues of student debt, animal welfare, One Health, and small business a priority in Congress.”