Nearly 100 veterinarians and veterinary students traveled to Washington this week to speak with their lawmakers on behalf of veterinary medicine during the AVMA’s annual legislative fly-in.
The three-day event combined education with action, as participants heard from veterinary leaders and congressional staff, practiced effective advocacy techniques, and then made their way to Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to support veterinary priorities related to the Farm Bill and student loans.
The fly-in kicked off with a networking reception on Sunday, March 25, followed by a full-day workshop preparing for Hill visits and learning about key legislative issues affecting our profession. On the final day, attendees heard from a panel of congressional staffers on the Farm Bill before heading out to meet with senators, representatives and congressional staff. In 145 unique meetings, they pressed for support of these specific measures:
- Veterinary priorities in the Farm Bill, including a three-pronged measure to support animal health: an Animal Pest, Disease and Disaster Prevention and Response Program; a stronger National Animal Health Laboratory Network; and a U.S. Livestock Vaccine Bank with immediate priority to foot-and-mouth disease.
- Programs to reduce veterinary debt as the Higher Education Act is rewritten, with a focus on preserving federal loan options and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
The fly-in provides an invaluable opportunity for Congress to hear directly from our profession, with veterinarians and veterinary students sharing personal stories in direct conversations with representatives and senators. We thank and congratulate each of the participants; you helped amplify the voice of all veterinarians by joining us in this effort!
The AVMA is committed to ensuring that veterinary voices are heard on Capitol Hill, and an important part of that work is connecting our members with Congress. If you couldn’t make it to Washington this year – or if you did attend the fly-in and want to continue your advocacy – you can make a difference by adding your name to the AVMA Congressional Advocacy Network. This will keep you updated on timely opportunities to contact lawmakers as Congress continues to debate important issues impacting veterinary medicine.
Special thanks to Banfield Pet Hospital for their generous support of the 2018 AVMA Fly-in.