AFBF Urging Senate to Pass Veterinary Public Health Bill

Farm Bureau is urging the Senate to approve H.R. 2999, the Veterinary Public Health Workforce Amendments Act of 2010, that was passed last week by the House by voice vote. On Friday, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), urging them to schedule a vote on the bill in the upcoming lame duck session.

“The U.S. faces a critical shortage of veterinarians in public health practice areas such as food safety and security, bioterrorism and emergency preparedness, environmental health, regulatory medicine, diagnostic laboratory medicine, food systems veterinary medicine and biomedical research,” Stallman wrote. “Many recent studies have shown dramatic shortfalls of veterinarians in key public health practice areas including food systems, veterinary medicine and at several federal government agencies protecting the nation’s food supply and keeping a watchful eye out for bioterrorism and foreign animal diseases. The current national pool of 2,500 new graduates a year is not enough to meet the demands of a growing population and changing public health needs.”

H.R. 2999, sponsored by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), would establish a grant program to expand capacity in veterinary medical schools and increase the number of loan repayments for veterinarians working in public health practice.

Congress is scheduled to return Nov. 15 for one week, take a break for Thanksgiving and return for another week beginning Dec. 3.