Veterinary priorities included in House, Senate farm bills

In June, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed their respective versions of the Farm Bill. AVMA has been working closely with Congress on these bills, both of which include many of AVMA’s animal health priorities. Next, the House and Senate will meet to reconcile differences in the bills before a final version can be sent to the president’s desk for signature.

The Farm Bill, passed every five years, is a broad-reaching piece of legislation that governs federal investment in U.S. agriculture and nutrition – including veterinary programs such as the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank, and grants that fund veterinary colleges and support cutting-edge animal disease research. Previous Farm Bills have given us programs such as the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment and Veterinary Services Grant programs, which place and support food animal and public health veterinarians in federally designated veterinary shortage areas.

This year’s legislation also offers an important chance to authorize new, complementary programs to improve our national disease detection and response capabilities. We’re grateful to the animal health champions in both the House and Senate who have worked to include these in both bills. AVMA is asking Congress to take a three-pronged approach to animal health by:

  • Establishing and funding an Animal Pest, Disease and Disaster Prevention and Response Program
  • Providing full funding for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network
  • Creating and funding a National Livestock Vaccine Bank with immediate priority to foot-and-mouth disease

Together, these programs facilitate a proactive approach to animal diseases so we can help prevent isolated incidences of disease from becoming widespread outbreaks. Through this structure, veterinarians would be better able to work with state officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to couple their expertise with the capabilities of our nation’s premier early warning system for animal disease, the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. A robust high-consequence animal disease vaccine bank also is needed to help us respond quickly and appropriately to disease outbreaks.

The House and Senate bills differ in their authorizations and funding for all three of our key animal health priorities, in addition to other animal health and research provisions. As the Senate and House negotiate the final version of the Farm Bill, we’re working closely with lawmakers to champion these programs and ask for the funding necessary for their success.

Congress needs to pass a Farm Bill before Sept. 30, 2018, to ensure current funding and authorizations don’t expire and to take new steps to preserve animal health.

3 thoughts on “Veterinary priorities included in House, Senate farm bills

  1. Three projects I strongly support and believe should be funded through the federal government. Our veterinary community needs to do a better job informing the public of our roles in public health and food safety. Hopefully USDA Secretary Perdue will help this become a reality – the veterinary oath is lifelong.

  2. Sorry, Shirl Linda, that’s not what the National Health Laboratory Network does! This extremely important group of laboratories performs surveillance on communicable diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease, Avian Influenza, and thousands more, which if left unchecked could devistate not only the health of livestock but of people in this country and potentially the world. It is one of the MOST important functions of the Farm Bill and funding CANNOT be limited or cut because it would pose grave consequences for our country and the world. If you have any love for animals and humankind, you should really reconsider your opinion

  3. I am not agreeing on the Senate bill to provide full funding for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, due to the fact that it involves laboratory testing on random testing on animals, that are always cruel in nature. I do not believe that testing on animals is necessary. Shamefully, the testing on domestic dogs, wild equines, cows is horrific and not necessary to study the disease process. I know that this kind of research needs to be re-evaluated every 6 months and voted against. Haven’t society had enough on the many reports, photo’s of what animal research really is or who really benefits. Society has had enough of Animal research and does not need to read that the Senate has voted it on going……….., instead, society needs to read that this activity has stopped forever.