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Animal health experts discuss critical link between animal and public health during Capitol Hill panel discussion


Leaders in veterinary health and animal health discuss how ensuring a safe food supply and managing zoonotic diseases are critical in protecting public health


(Washington, DC) June 22, 2012 – Wednesday, June 20the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) and the Animal Health Institute (AHI) hosted a discussion examining the critical role that veterinarians play in food safety and maintaining animal health as a key driver in overall public. The Capitol Hill evententitled From Fido to Food Safety: Roles, Responsibilities and Realities Veterinarians Face in Protecting Public Health, brought together animal health experts from the veterinary medical profession, including representatives from government, uniform services, academia and corporate practice.


“Veterinarians are the critical link to ensuring a safe food supply and effectively dealing with zoonotic diseases – diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans,” said Alex Mathews, president and CEO of the Animal Health Institute. “It is this vital link and the important role they play in maintaining animal health to protect human health that was the basis for Wednesday’s important discussion.”


In his keynote remarks, Dr. John Clifford, chief veterinary officer of the United States Department of Agriculture, stated:“One Health is the concept that the health of animals, the health of people, and the viability of ecosystems are inextricably linked. During the last three decades, approximately 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases among humans have been zoonotic diseases, which means they were transmitted from animals to people.”


The panel members included:

• Dr. Doug Meckes, Branch Chief, Food, Agriculture & Veterinary Defense Branch, Department of Homeland Security;

• Dr. Rene CarlsonPresident, American Veterinary Medical Association;

• Dr. Terri ClarkDirector, Office of Animal Care & Use, NIH, Chief Veterinary Officer, United States Public Health Service;

• Dr. Christine Navarre, Past-President, American Association of Bovine Practitioners


“I was honored to take part in this important discussion about the veterinarian’s role in protecting public health through maintaining animal health,” said Dr. René Carlson, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “Discussions and collaborations like this are the essence of One Health, recognizing the intersection of human, animal and ecosystem health, and underscoring how every species on this planet is inextricably linked. The professional diversity exhibited by the distinguished panel and keynote speaker highlighted that veterinarians in all sectors play a critical role in this important effort.”



For more information about AVMA and AHI’s efforts to maintain animal and human health, please and




About the Animal Health Institute

The Animal Health Institute (AHI) represents companies with an interest in animal health. Our members invest hundreds of millions of dollars on the innovations, research and science necessary for advances in pharmaceuticals, biologics, and pesticides for animals. For more information, please visit or


About the American Veterinary Medical Association

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 82,500 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. For more information, visit