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AAZV wins a seat on the Advisory Panel to the AVMA’s House of Delegates 

After years of seeking some form of official representation with the AVMA, the House of Delegates voted at its July meeting to seat the AAZV on the Advisory Panel to the House of Delegates.   

The final stages of obtaining the seat started in January of this year.  We prepared a “white paper” stating our logic for being represented.  It was coupled with a letter explaining that we will never obtain a voting seat as an Allied Organization because more than 20% of our membership lives and works outside of North America, and the AVMA requires that 85% of the membership be members of the AVMA.  The letter and white paper were distributed to some of the leadership of the AVMA asking the question:  “Isn’t there some place for us in the AVMA?”  The House Advisory Committee (not to be confused with the Advisory Panel to the House of Delegates) took up the issue in March, and proposed Resolution 1, which states: “Add American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Representation to AVMA House Advisory Panel.”   

We were advised not to seek a “joint seat” of AAZV and AAWV.  Apparently there is a feeling among some of the members of the AVMA that AAZV tried an “end run” several years ago by attempting to combine membership with AAWV.  Since the issue was being put forth by a third party (the House Advisory Committee), and since they advised us to keep it simple, we followed their advice and let them make the proposed resolution. 

Everything was going well until the Executive Board of the House of Delegates met in late spring.  They recommended disapproval of Resolution 1.  They had three reasons for their recommendation.  1.) It was in essence a “backdoor method of getting AAZV representation in the house” (a direct reference to our attempt with AAWV several years ago) 2.)  It wouldn’t be a proper fit for the AAZV with the other eight members of the Advisory Panel and 3.)  If the AVMA opened the door for AAZV they would have to open the door for other organizations as well.   

The House Advisory Committee proposed and recommended Resolution 1, the Executive Board recommended disapproval, and there was one more committee to make a recommendation.  The Resolution was assigned to the House Reference Committee #1, consisting of 19 delegates.  Reference Committees meet during the AVMA’s Annual Meeting, prior to the House of Delegates voting on resolutions and amendments to the By-Laws.   

During the weeks leading up to the meeting, we contacted all of the members of the House Reference Committee by phone, along with all of the Delegates and Alternate Delegates from the ten largest (AVMA population wise) states.  President Tom Meehan joined Executive Director Rob Hilsenroth at the AVMA meeting to attend the Allied Organization Caucus and the Reference Committee meeting.  They also spent time meeting Delegates individually and presenting our position.  It paid off. 

The House of Delegates voted in favor of Resolution 1 by a vote of 93.1 percent!   

What does this seat mean? 

It’s important that the membership understand what this all means.  According to the House of Delegates Manual:  “The House of Delegates will invite an advisory panel of veterinarians representing the agencies and organizations listed below to attend duly convened sessions of the House.  The members of this advisory panel will be the chief ranking voting AVMA member from each group, or his or her designee, provided that the designee is a member of that agency or organization and is a voting AVMA member.” 

Our representative will receive the House of Delegates Agenda and Board Book for each meeting.  She/he will sit in the section with the other members of the Advisory Panel.  AAZV will fund all travel expenses to the two annual House of Delegates meetings.  The position is a non-voting position in the House of Delegates.   

Our purpose in being at the meetings is to provided expertise and advice regarding issues that the House of Delegates is considering.  The Advisory Panel may not introduce resolutions, amendments to the By-laws, etc.  Our representative will maintain close communications with other “non domestic animal” organizations (ARAV, AAWV, AEMV, IAAAM, etc.) that are not otherwise represented in the AVMA in an effort to be able to provide the AVMA with the most comprehensive information available.   

The other members of the Advisory Panel to the House of Delegates are: American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians; Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Department of Homeland Security; National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials; National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Food Safety and Inspection services. 


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