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|AZA Veterinary Advisory Group|
Information by Julia E. Napier, DVM
The concept of the Veterinary Advisory Group (VAG) originated with the Infectious Disease Committee of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) and the Conservation and Science Department of AZA (formerly AAZPA) in 1993. The need for such a group was highlighted at the 1992 International Conference on Implications of Infectious Diseases for Captive Propagation and Reintroduction Programs of Threatened Species. This meeting, held in Oakland, California, was sponsored by AZA, AAZV, and the Captive Breeding Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission (CBSG/IUCN/SSC). It emphasized the impact of disease on reintroduction projects and highlighted the importance of risk assessment. A general lack of information on 1) incidence, distribution and risks of disease in captive and wild populations, 2) effective quarantine protocols necessary to prevent disease transmission, and 3) definitive diagnostic tests to detect and monitor disease has resulted in the lack of a working database for informed risk assessment. The notion of a Veterinary Advisor to each SSP/TAG program was put forward as a way to generate and collect this missing information.
Administratively, The VAG is a subcommittee of AZA's Animal Health Committee (AHC) and was established with 3 main goals in mind:
1) To act as a support and advisory body for SSP/TAG Veterinary Advisors;
2)To act as a source of information for protocols concerning the roles and responsibilities of Veterinary Advisors; and
3)To serve as an informational resource on veterinary issues that may impact conservation programs.
Congratulations to Allison Tuttle. Allison was recently elected to the AZA Ethics Board. Three new members are elected each year. The Ethics Board upholds the integrity and professional standards of the AZA and its institutional and individual members by implementing the process defined by the code in a fair, objective, consistent and professional manner.