Last week, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) called upon Congress to reopen the U.S. government so that our nation’s federal employees who promote the health and welfare of animals, guard the country against disease outbreaks, and ensure food safety can get back to work. 

“Not only is Congress affecting the lives of more than 800,000 federal employees by its lack of action, it is compromising the health and wellbeing of millions of animals,” Ron DeHaven, DVM, MBA, AVMA’s chief executive officer, said Oct. 4. “Each day that the U.S. government is shutdown, we are faced with a dwindling supply of available vaccines to keep livestock healthy, a lack of inspections that protect animals from abuse, and a dearth of food safety inspections. Our elected officials need to double down on their efforts to come to a bipartisan, bicameral agreement, and put Americans back to work so they can continue protecting the health and welfare of animals and the public.”

On a positive note, yesterday (Oct. 8) the AVMA announced that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack decided to deem some employees within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB) as “excepted,” allowing them to return to work during the government shutdown—a move the organization praised.

The AVMA said the USDA excused these individuals from the furlough so that they can continue to ensure that veterinarians and farmers have access to the important vaccinations they need to