U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Thune (R-SD) on Sept. 24 introduced legislation to help confront the veterinary service shortages. It was then referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
Senate Bill 1709, the Veterinary Services Investment Act, is a companion bill to H.R. 3519, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in July.
Specifically, the act would establish a new grant program to assist states in addressing their unique veterinary workforce needs. Grants awarded under the program could be used for activities such as recruiting veterinarians to work in underserved areas, strengthening food safety and conducting surveillance of animal disease.
At press time, 89 veterinary and agricultural groups had joined the American Veterinary Medical Association in support of the legislation.
“Senators Stabenow and Thune and their colleagues are voicing support for maintaining public health, food safety and animal health by bolstering the veterinary workforce,” said Ron DeHaven, DVM, chief executive officer of the AVMA. “The Veterinary Services Investment Act will significantly help bring much needed veterinarian services to areas of our country in need.”
Veterinary clinics in rural areas and state, national, allied or regional veterinary organizations, specialty boards or veterinary medical association would be eligible to apply for grants. Veterinary colleges, university research and veterinary medical foundations, departments of veterinary science and comparative medicine, state agricultural experiment stations, and state, local and tribal government agencies would also be eligible to apply.
At press time, the Library of Congress had not received the text of the bill from the Government Printing Office and, therefore, had not posted the text on its website. When it is available, it can be found here. <HOME>
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