President’s Weekly Update: Our colleagues in the United Kingdom and the AAVLD/USAHA meeting

Last week I had the privilege of representing the AVMA at the British Veterinary Association in London.   This group represents about 12,ooo veterinarians from across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (compared to our 81,000 members).  Interestingly, they have many of the same issues we do, like increasing tuition for education, marketing their practices, roles of technicians, and the constant ethical dilemma of paying for the costs of veterinary care for the well being of animals. 

They had an interesting way of engaging their members in discussions called Contentious Issues.  They would identify a topic, ask two to three speakers to give their perspectives (kind of a point and counterpoint), and then have the speakers sit at a table as a panel for discussion and debate of the issue with the audience.  The sessions were well attended and generated good discussion.  It seemed much like our AVMA Town Halls, except there was a formal presentation of two views, followed by a panel discussion.   And the Brits are not shy about expressing their opinions!  Would you like to see this at our AVMA Convention?  Some of the topics discussed included:

  • Social media – use it or lose out
  • Cost of veterinary medical education 
  • Budgeting for animal health care
  • The ethics of breeding dogs – purebred and pedigreed dogs
  • Intensification of production farming –  feedlots are expanding all over the world, what role will (U.S.) veterinarians have in national and global food production?

Today I am writing this from Buffalo, NY and the annual conference of American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians and the  United States Animal Health Association annual conference.  The AAVLD promotes continuous improvement and public awareness of veterinary diagnostic laboratories by advancing the discipline of veterinary diagnostic laboratory science.  (My husband, Mark, is one of these guys!)  The USAHA works with state and federal governments, universities, veterinarians, livestock producers, national livestock and poultry organizations, research scientists, the extension service and several foreign countries to control livestock diseases in the United States.  This is an amazing group of scientists, all interested in safeguarding our livestock animals from disease and assuring a safe food supply.  I reviewed the urgency of our economic situation as it relates to our veterinary medical workforce, and will also attend the meeting of National Association of Federal Veterinarians (NAFV) here.

Any thoughts?


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