Veterinary legislators propose 2011 as World Veterinary Year


Congress has been asked to mark the upcoming 250th anniversary of veterinary medicine by proclaiming 2011 as World Veterinary Year.

The two veterinarians serving in Congress—Rep. Kurt Schrader and Sen. John Ensign—introduced nearly identical resolutions July 15 honoring the contributions of veterinarians in the promotion of animal and public health.

Because the world's first veterinary school was established in Lyon, France, in 1761, the international veterinary community is celebrating 2011 as the 250th anniversary of the veterinary medical profession.

"Historically, veterinarians have been the most qualified health professionals to help us deal with zoonotic diseases, bioterrorism, comparative medicine, and food safety issues on the front lines and through research and scientific innovation," Dr. Schrader said.

"This resolution recognizes and brings attention to the important roles veterinarians have played for more than 250 years," the Oregon congressman continued.

Dr. Ensign said people in his home state of Nevada and across the country view their pets as family members and look to their veterinarians to ensure their health and well-being.

"Also, veterinarians play an integral role in food safety," he said. "For this reason, I have asked the Senate to officially bring attention to, and show appreciation for, the veterinary profession by declaring 2011 as World Veterinary Year."

The resolutions will have to be voted out of committee before being considered by the House and Senate.

The slogan for World Veterinary Year is "Vet for health, Vet for food, Vet for the Planet!" suggested by Dr. Jacques Bruhlet of the General Council of Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas within the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing.

The AVMA is working with foreign colleagues on plans to commemorate the anniversary. Veterinary organizations within 78 countries are expected to observe the 2011 milestone with special events throughout the year.

Event highlights include an opening ceremony Jan. 24, 2011, in Versailles, France, organized by the French Veterinary Academy and the National Veterinary School of Alfort. The second World Conference on Veterinary Education is scheduled for May 12-16 in Lyon, followed by a closing ceremony Oct. 10-14, to be held in conjunction with the 30th World Veterinary Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.

Additionally, the European Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) have signed on to highlight the many ways veterinarians have protected human health and advanced animal medicine over the past two centuries.

AVMA CEO Ron DeHaven welcomed his veterinary colleagues' efforts to honor the veterinary profession. "The United States is joining with citizens from around the globe to honor the contributions veterinary medicine has made to animal health, public health, animal welfare, and food safety," Dr. DeHaven said.

To learn more about Vet 2011, visit www.vet2011.org/index.php.


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