It's more important than ever for science and health professionals to engage with local, state, and federal officials to inspire and enact change. As medical practicioners, small business owners, stewards of public health, animal lovers, and individuals with diverse involvement in animal agriculture, sheltering, research, conservation, and others, veterinarians are impacted by a wide breadth of legislation and can act as key expert influencers for public policy.
Table of ContentsAVMA Congressional Advocacy Network
Provides tools to speak up on issues impacting the veterinary profession and enact change on the local, state, and federal levels
AVMA State Legislative Updates
Regularly updated list of legislation that the AVMA is monitoring in different states.
AVMA Political Action Committee
Collects funds through grassroots support from AVMA members and allocates contributions to build relationships with lawmakers. Provides resources for involvement to regular contributors.
Veterinary Advocacy Network from the North American Veterinary Community
H.R.3771 - Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act of 2019
This bill was introduced in 2019 and has gained 11 cosponsors through 2020. This legislation in particularly relevant in light of the ongoing SARS-COV2 pandemic, thought to be zoonotic in origins. If passed, this would establish a National One Health Framework to "prevent, prepare for, and respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks." It would encourage communication and coordination between the CDC, FDA, USDA, EPA, NIH, and other agencies, in order to improve upon existing programs and initiatives. The Bill text is relatively short and very approachable for anyone interested in reading it at the provided link. If you'd like to encourage your officials to endorse and support this bill, you can use a pre-filled form provided by the AVMA CAN here.
H.R.6921 - Healthy Dog Importation Act
This bill was introduced in 2019 and has gained 7 cosponsors through 2020. This legislation would amend the existing Animal Health Protection Act. As currently written, this law permits the Secretary of Agriculture to prohibit or restrict the import of animals as necessary to prevent the introduction of disease or pests. This bill would add a section explicitly detailing requirements for the importation of live dogs except those imported for: (1)research, (2)veterinary treatment with subsequent export, or (3) the State of Hawaii under their existing regulations. These requirements are to include: (1)the dog is in good health, (2)has a certificate from a veterinarian indicating receipt of vaccinations and negative test results for pertinent tests as determined by the Secretary. The text of this bill is also relatively short and can be read at the provided link. If you'd like to encourage your local officials to endorse and support this bill, you can use a pre-filled form provided by the AVMA CAN here.
Scope of Practice
Scope of practice laws define what constitutes the practice of veterinary medicine, who can legally practice, and when and how they can do so. Definitions surrounding the 'VCPR' or Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship and how it is established can be found in scope of practice legislation. This has important implications for the development of telehealth, particularly in the context of the ongoing pandemic. Scope of practice laws help to protect the profession and animals by ensuring that only appropriately trained persons can legally perform certain procedures and provide medical care and advising.
Mandatory Reporting of Animal Cruelty & Legal Protection for Reporting
Animal cruelty, in the form of either intentional abuse or unintentional neglect, is something that every veterinarian in nearly every type of practice will encounter at some point in their career. Laws on animal cruelty and the reporting of it vary by state, with some needing more improvement than others. While some states mandate that veterinarians report any suspected animal cruelty, and provide legal protection from retaliation, others leave veterinarians vulnerable to legal action for violation of client confidentiality when reporting suspected abuse. Michigan State University's Animal Legal and Historical Center has a convenient table of different laws by state available.