From protecting food safety, to preventing the spread of zoonotic disease, to ensuring good animal welfare, veterinarians are integral to the missions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That’s why we welcome the news that the department is now under veterinary leadership following yesterday’s confirmation of Dr. Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture.
Secretary Perdue launched his career as a veterinarian after receiving his DVM from the University of Georgia in 1971. He went on to found three agribusinesses and run for local office. In 2002, he was elected governor of Georgia and became the first veterinarian in the nation to serve as governor.
We’re happy to see one of our peers at the helm of the USDA because we believe veterinary input and leadership is crucial across all levels of government. Veterinarians possess a unique scientific expertise that can guide effective policymaking – especially regarding issues involving animal health, animal welfare and public health. As increasing evidence shows that human and animal health are deeply intertwined, veterinary input in policymaking is more important than ever.
We’re looking forward to working with Secretary Perdue to ensure that veterinary expertise continues to be heard at the USDA. We’ve already reached out to him in support of two veterinarians who are being considered for key roles in the USDA, and we will communicate regularly with him about our opposition to soring.