House of Delegates Annual Session Wrap-Up

Addendum 7/29/2013: the final versions are now available on our website.

The AVMA House of Delegates held its Annual Meeting Thursday and Friday (July 18 and 19). Yesterday was spent in informational session (receiving reports from various groups) in the morning and reference committee meetings in the afternoon. The real “meat” of the meeting, so to speak, took place on Friday when the House considered and took action on 8 proposed resolutions and 3 proposed bylaws amendments.  However, it was the reference committee meetings that contained much of the discussion about the resolutions and amendments that resulted in the voting outcomes of today.

Proposed bylaws amendments 2, 3 and 4 were each approved by a vote of at least two-thirds of the delegates in approval. I apologize, but I did not record the voting margin for these items and therefore cannot report them here.

Proposed resolution 8: Policy on Veterinarian Notification of Violative Residues in Foods of Animal Origin. A proposed amendment to remove the second sentence from the second bullet point was introduced, but the amendment was disapproved by a majority vote of 76.9% against the amendment. The resolution as originally proposed was then considered and it unanimously passed.

Proposed resolution 9: Policy on Safe Handling of Commercially Prepared Pet Food and Pet Treats. This resolution was approved by a vote of 95.6% in favor.

Proposed resolution 10: Policy on Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Veterinary Medicine. An amendment was proposed to remove bullet points #3 and 6, but a request was made to consider the two items separately. The proposal to delete the third bullet point was defeated by a 83% majority vote. The proposal to delete the sixth bullet point was also defeated, with a 69.2% majority vote.  A proposed amendment to change “animal welfare” to “animal health and welfare” in the first bullet point was approved with a majority vote of 96.7%. The amended resolution was then passed with 94.1% approval. (Note: on 7/29/13, added link to amended resolution as approved by the HOD.)

Proposed resolution 11: Policy on Remote Consulting. An amendment was proposed to add that remote consulting is acceptable if vets are geographically unavailable was made by Hawaii and supported by Alaska because both states have areas where there simply are no vets available. The proposed amendment sparked concerns that it might be too widely interpreted in the mainland US, and one delegate expressed that those states’ veterinary practice acts are the more appropriate method for addressing the unique needs of their vets. The proposed amendment was defeated by a 96.1% vote. The resolution as originally written was approved by a 93.2% vote.

Proposed resolution12 would admit the American Holistic Veterinary Association (AHVMA) to the AVMA House of Delegates as an allied constituent organization. The resolution was passed with a 95.9% vote in favor.

Proposed resolution 13: Policy  on Relocation of Pets for Adoption. An amendment was proposed to replace “examined” with “inspected,” and this resolution was passed with a 93.4% vote in favor. The amended resolution was approved with a 99.4% vote in favor. (Note: on 7/29/13, added linked to amended resolution as approved by the HOD.)

Proposed resolution 14 would admit the American Association of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA) to the AVMA House of Delegates as an allied constituent organization. The recommendation made by the reference committee was to refer this resolution to the Executive Board to determine if the AAVA represents the majority of veterinary acupuncturists in the country. The HOD voted to refer it as recommended, with a 78.7% vote in favor of referral.

Two additional resolutions were introduced as a result of the reference committee and caucus discussions. Because they were submitted after the deadline for resolutions, the House had to first waive the requirement for notice and agree to consider the resolutions – a minimum two-thirds vote was required, and both received more than two-thirds support. Proposed resolution 15 would provide HOD delegates with the questions and results of the AVMA Member Needs Assessment that were used by the AVMA Task Force on Governance and Member Participation. The resolution was amended to include alternate delegates and clarified that the questions/results would be relevant to governance and member participation. The amendments were approved by more than two-thirds votes and the amended resolution was approved with a 97.1% vote in favor. (Note: On 7/29/13, added link to amended resolution as passed by HOD.)

Proposed resolution 16 stated that “the House of Delegates recommends to the Executive Board that any final proposal for the governance change for AVMA includes the House of Delegates.”  This resolution passed with a vote of 72.5% in favor. (Note: on 7/29/13, added link to amended resolution as passed by HOD.)

Once the official voting session was over, the floor was opened up for a discussion of the proposed new system for AVMA governance. During yesterday’s reference committees, the general feedback was requesting an open forum on the House floor to allow the HOD yo air its grievances about the proposed system. The system is described in the report of the AVMA Task Force on Governance and Member Participation. Many of the comments made during the open forum were posted on the @AVMAvets Twitter feed using the hash tag #avmagov. In general, the House is not in support of the proposed governance system because it does not include a House of Delegates. Other concerns expressed included (but were not limited to) the following: 1) perceived concentration of power; 2) reduced voice for minority or smaller groups; 3) The Governance Engagement Team took copious notes during the discussion and will consider the HOD’s input, along with the results of the governance survey and other input, as the process continues.

For more in-depth coverage of the meeting, look for the coverage in upcoming JAVMA News articles. To receive real-time updates of future AVMA leadership meetings, follow us on Twitter (@AVMAvets) and/or follow or search the hash tag #avmagov.

AVMA and SAVMA members, please take a few minutes to complete the governance survey. We want to hear from all of you! If you’ve already completed it, thank you! If you haven’t, please complete it by Sept 2. And please also feel free to make comments on the NOAH discussion thread about the survey and governance process.


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