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Reference Desk September 2011

Pre-eminent veterinary groups in U.S., Europe issue joint statements on animal care, treatment and veterinary education

    Schaumburg, IL, September 13, 2011—Two of the world's largest veterinary medical associations have issued joint statements detailing their collective stances on some of the most critical issues facing veterinary medicine.

    The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) collaborated on the development of the statements, and the respective boards for each group approved their content and implementation.

    The statements pertain to veterinary medical education, the responsible and judicious use of antimicrobial drugs, and the roles of veterinarians in promoting good animal welfare.

    "We are living in a global society, where issues related to animal and human health know no boundaries and impact us all, regardless of where we live," said AVMA President Dr. René Carlson. "Global efforts are needed to help ensure the health, safety and welfare of both animals and people. These joint statements – and most importantly the spirit of cooperation behind them – will serve us well as we strive to protect and enhance global health, both in the practice of veterinary medicine and in the political arena where rules and regulations are established."

    "Both AVMA and FVE focus on the same fundamental themes that are important to veterinarians everywhere – animal health, public health, animal welfare and veterinary education, all within the context of One Health," said FVE President Dr. Christophe Buhot. "With these position papers, both organizations unify veterinary medicine in America as in Europe, allowing both continents to speak with one profession, one vision, one voice."

    Ensuring sufficient core competencies of veterinary school graduates around the world is a key point in the statement on veterinary medical education, as is the importance of veterinary school accreditation.

    "At the time of graduation, veterinarians must have the basic scientific knowledge, skills and values to be a full member of the veterinary profession, and to perform – in an independent and responsible way – appropriate entry-level tasks and duties," the statement reads. "The accreditation of veterinary education is essential to ensure educational programs meet high standards and strive for continuous quality improvement."

    The use of antimicrobials, particularly in livestock, is an issue generating worldwide attention, and the AVMA and the FVE believe there is a need to preserve both the efficacy and the availability of antimicrobials for therapeutic use by veterinarians.

    "Responsible and judicious use of antimicrobials is in the best interests of both animal health and human health," according to the statement on antimicrobial use. "Approaches to preserve antimicrobial efficacy must be well coordinated and encompass everyone involved in the use of antimicrobials, including physicians, veterinarians, individual patients, animal caretakers, and producers."

    Veterinarians play an essential role in the welfare of all animals, and, according to the joint statement on ensuring good animal welfare, they are also obligated to help others understand and practice good animal care.

    "The AVMA and the FVE recognize that veterinarians – as knowledgeable and accountable professionals – have an opportunity and an obligation to help animal owners, caretakers, handlers, and policy makers protect and improve animals' welfare," the statement reads. "All veterinarians have an opportunity to provide education and knowledge that can promote welfare-friendly animal care practices. Veterinarians must not only work to implement existing standards, but must also contribute to ensuring continual improvement of those standards."

    For more information on the AVMA-FVE joint statements, visit the AVMA website at www.avma.org or the FVE website at www.fve.org.

    The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 81,500 member veterinarians worldwide are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities.

    The FVE is an umbrella organization of 44 veterinary organizations from 38 European countries, representing approximately 200, 000 veterinarians.

    Source: AVMA

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