President's Message

Something old, something new

David Madsen

It's customary for all of us to occasionally review material we haven't needed recently. Perhaps we wish to see how the science has improved or remind ourselves of a drug dose or a diagnostic protocol. Maybe we need to see if there is something we missed in steering a clinical case toward remission. There are even instances when we need to be reminded of the most basic of premises, even when they are not purely medical.

The latter happened yesterday when the AASV Animal Welfare Committee met to develop a substantive plan to ensure that our membership is represented when outside forces bring pressure upon our industry to establish welfare guidelines for pig production. The committee was unanimous in their recognition of the need to have a position statement that represents the association's members. The first line of that statement (the full text of the proposed statement is below) says: "Swine veterinarians have taken a solemn oath to protect...". That would be the Veterinarian's Oath as taken by all of us upon admission into the veterinary profession. That oath is what we all reviewed after we left the meeting (since none of us had it with us).

The Veterinarian's Oath is as basic to swine medicine as to any other branch and as important to quality service as pig anatomy, physiology, or any other science. I won't repeat it here. It's in the AVMA Directory, among other sources. But it needs to be read regularly by all of us. It's so concise, so clear, and such a strong foundation for all that we do for our patients, little more needs to be added to define our position on pig welfare or, for that matter, on anything involving our patients.

The proposed Position Statement is as follows:

Swine veterinarians have taken a solemn oath to protect the health and welfare of the animals under their care. We do this in a science-based, sustainable manner and in the interest of protecting public health. We are knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated to continuous learning about the field of pig welfare.

Veterinarians' Responsibilities:

1. To adhere to the Veterinarian's Oath
2. To be science-based and objective
3. To exercise professional self-discipline

We endorse the Pork Producer Code of Practice and the AASV-NPPC Euthanasia-on-Farm options for Producers.

We are in a key position to monitor and report on pig health and welfare.

Please note that the above is proposed and subject to change upon input from all AASV members. Please contact any of our officers to offer suggestions or to question the process through which the position was developed.

My question in this issue is simple: Having now read the Veterinarian's Oath for the first time in a long while, are you living up to its tenets?


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This page last updated April 19, 2012.