New Bill Will Expand Workforce for Wildlife, Zoological Medicine

By: Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director, Governmental Relations Division

On July 23, Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) re-introduced the Wildlife VETs Act (H.R. 2796), which will expand the workforce of veterinarians who are specialized in the care and conservation of wild animals and their ecosystems. The bill will also provide grants to educational institutions that seek to develop curricula and training programs that are focused on the field of wildlife and zoological veterinary medicine.

This is the third time that the bill has been introduced in Congress. AVMA President Dr. Clark Fobian, a veterinarian, commended Congressman Hastings’ continued leadership on this issue:

“AVMA is pleased to see Rep. Hastings introduce this important legislation once again in the 113th Congress. AVMA is firmly committed to the concept of One Health—a collaborative effort of multiple disciplines, including veterinary medicine, working locally, nationally and internationally to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment—which is why it is pivotal that we continue supporting the training and education of the nation’s wildlife and zoological veterinarians who research, detect and control diseases for the safety and health of the public and animals. Having obtained my undergraduate degree in wildlife biology, I know the critical role that wildlife and zoological veterinarians play in managing U.S. wildlife populations, responding to environmental and man-made disasters that affect animals, and conserving endangered, threatened and sensitive species. The Wildlife VETs Act is an important tool that ensures the continuation of recruiting, training and providing jobs to these highly specialized veterinarians who play such an important role in supporting the ecosystem.”

This legislation has the support of AVMA, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, and the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians.

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