AVMA revises veterinary oath to stress the importance of animal welfare

The American Veterinary Medical Association has officially revised the Veterinarian’s Oath, to reflect a commitment to animal welfare.

Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.”

In the story posted on the Yahoo News site, Dr. Bruce Nixon, Chair-Elect of the Animal Welfare Committee, is quoted as follows –

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“It’s a promise that each veterinarian makes at graduation, so these words have tremendous meaning.  The Animal Welfare Committee recommended these changes to emphasize that veterinarians have responsibilities not only to animal health but also to animal welfare.”

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– And then this quote from Dr. Gail Golab, Director of the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Division, is important to note as well –

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“These changes make it clear that the scope of veterinarians’ efforts toward improving animal welfare include not only treatment, but also prevention of suffering and promotion of good welfare, which is consistent with today’s approach to veterinary practice.”

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All of this is great to see. I’ve been critical of the AVMA for quotes coming from its leaders, challenging recent anti-puppy mill legislation. The AVMA, for example, released a statement against Proposition B in Missouri and I had one spokesperson challenge me for statements I made a couple of years ago against the cruel use of captive bolts to slaughter horses.

I truly hope this latest news signals a change from within the organization and a new realization that animal welfare should be a point of emphasis for the AVMA. I salute the organization’s Animal Welfare Committee for recommending the change in the oath and the Executive Board for its approval.

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