You’ve heard of the “Easy Button,” haven’t you? You know, that ubiquitous advertising slogan by Staples? Heck, you might have bought your own Easy Button, and if you did, chances are it’s still sitting on someone’s desk somewhere.
The idea behind the marketing slogan is to convince customers looking for office supplies that going the Staples way is the easy way. Here at the AVMA, we’re trying every day to make things easier for both our members and members of the public. And while we don’t have our own “easy button” to push, you can always find us working to make it easier for you to assist your clients, get the information you need and stay informed.
The World of Welfare
Keeping abreast of animal welfare issues is critical in these times of ongoing debate among the public – and even in our own profession – about animal health, housing and well-being. Dr. DeHaven and I would like to remind you of two upcoming AVMA-sponsored events that will advance our knowledge of animal welfare issues and position us for future challenges that are sure to arise in all sectors of the profession.
The Joint International Educational Symposium on Animal Welfare, a program sponsored by the AVMA and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, will be held Nov. 9-11 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center at Michigan State University. This unique event brings together animal welfare experts from around the world to collaborate on how we can better integrate animal welfare discussions, questions and solutions into our educational curricula and research programs. Our goal is to strengthen veterinary knowledge about welfare issues so that we are prepared to provide leadership in this critical area, and we invite you to help us meet that objective. You can still register for the program at the pre-symposium rate, so check out the symposium Web site for more information.
Another exciting event is the 9th Annual Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest that we are co-sponsoring with the Animal Behavior and Welfare Group of Michigan State University Nov. 21-22. This thought-provoking exercise is geared toward our veterinary students and typically attracts some of the brightest minds each year. It’s a fun and educational way to enhance awareness and understanding of animal welfare concerns affecting animals used for human purposes, such as companionship, agriculture and biomedical/research. The program provides students an opportunity to use multiple measures of animal well-being, such as physiology, health, behavior and production, to objectively assess the welfare of different species in a variety of environments.
Chances are that many of you in the companion animal field have clients who bring their hunting dogs in for routine exams, vaccinations and other treatments. With you and your clients in mind, our Communications and Scientific Activities divisions recently completed an easy-to-understand reference guide for hunters that deals with the zoonotic risks associated with hunting. Now, before anyone jumps to any conclusions, we’d like to make it clear that we’re not taking a stand on hunting or trying to scare hunters away from something they enjoy doing. What we’re trying to do is let hunters know that there are serious diseases out there, and that there are simple ways they can protect themselves and their dogs.
It’s our hope that this reference guide, which was reviewed by the AVMA’s Committee on Environmental Issues and was also shared with a few hunters before publication, will increase awareness among hunters about some of the lesser-known risks they face while hunting. This is the first reference guide we’ve produced for a specific audience. Let us know if you and your clients find it useful.
Survey Says …
Sure to generate interest and discussion are the results of our most recent survey of new veterinary graduates. Titled “Employment, starting salaries, and educational indebtedness of year-2009 graduates of US veterinary colleges,” and conducted by our Marketing Department, the report reveals an economic mixed bag when it comes to what new veterinary graduates encountered in 2009. While most salaries are up, others are down. And of equal concern is that veterinary student debt continues to climb, reaching an all-time high of almost $130,000.
Rest assured, that the AVMA, along with the AAVMC and other veterinary groups, are working hard to find ways to alleviate some of the financial burden these new graduates carry with them out of veterinary school. While college debt is certainly part of life for most graduates, we will continue to focus on ways to help students minimize and manage that debt while also working to increase their starting salaries
Who Ya Gonna Call?
Looking for a specific someone from the AVMA to answer a question? That someone is now only a few clicks away. Our first-ever “Contact Us” page on our Web site recently launched with you and the public in mind.
Your Communications and Membership and Field Services divisions have created a new Contact Us page on our Web site, providing you everything at your fingertips: individual e-mail addresses and telephone numbers for both our headquarters and our Governmental Relations Division; easily identifiable icons that will direct your e-mail straight to the division you need; quick links to updating your membership information online and to our staff contact list; and a regularly updated “What’s New” item that will highlight an important AVMA event or initiative. And if you know someone who is considering joining the AVMA, there’s information on the benefits of membership and how to join on the page, as well.
Check it out. And now that we’ve made contacting us easier than ever, let us know what you think.
Bills, Bills and More Bills
It’s not easy to keep up with all the proposed state legislation that affects veterinary medicine. It can be even harder to separate fact from filibuster in today’s media climate.
That’s why our State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department within the Communications Division keeps up with all the legislation that matters most to you professionally. The 2009 state legislative session has proven to be another busy year, with states considering more than 1,200 bills relating to veterinary medicine.
From animal welfare and cruelty issues, to breed-specific legislation, farm animal husbandry practices and loan repayment programs, our staff of attorneys monitors what happens in our state capitals so that our state veterinary medical associations and our members aren’t surprised by legislation that may affect the profession. To view monthly, mid-year and year-end AVMA state legislative updates, please visit our State Legislative Updates Web page.
World Rabies Day
In closing, Dr. DeHaven and I would like to take this opportunity to urge you to remind your clients about the scourge of rabies and how, by following some simple steps and exercising common sense, they can easily prevent the disease in animals. September 28 marks the 3rd Annual World Rabies Day, and now is a good time to send that message.
Globally, more than 55,000 people are still dying every year from rabies. And although most of your clients are good at making sure that their pets’ rabies vaccinations are up-to-date, we still need to remind them and their children to stay away from wildlife and stray animals and to not allow their pets to roam free.
Please visit our World Rabies Day Web page for more information about rabies and what we all can do to help stop the spread of this disease.
|Larry R. Corry, DVM
|W. Ron DeHaven, DVM, MBA
Chief Executive Officer