The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) officers and staff met recently at the AASV office in Perry, IA, in an effort to improve communication and understanding between the two organizations. The meeting was prompted by a request from AVMA President René Carlson, DVM, in response to AASV concerns about AVMA actions and statements on swine and other production-animal issues.

In addition to Carlson, AVMA representatives Ron DeHaven, DVM, executive vice president and CEO; Doug Aspros, DVM, president-elect; Ted Cohn, DVM, executive board chair; and Chet Rawson, DVM, executive board representative, traveled to Perry for the May 2-3 meeting, which included all of the AASV officers and staff.

Many of the concerns shared by the AASV stemmed from the fact that swine veterinarians represent a small and shrinking percentage – less than 1% of the total veterinary population. The AVMA boasts about 82,000 members, while the AASV currently has approximately 800 veterinary members in the United States, of which just over 500 belong to the AVMA.

The AVMA represents itself as the “voice of the profession” and is often called upon to set policy and comment on a wide range of veterinary issues. The AASV officers encouraged AVMA representatives to utilize AASV as their primary source of expertise and information when addressing swine-related topics.

In addition to the afternoon of dialogue in the AASV conference room, the second day of the AVMA visit included a trip to a sow farm, hosted by Howard Hill, DVM, director of the animal well-being department, and the staff at Iowa Select Farms (ISF). The visitors showered in and received an overview of ISF and a comparison of sow housing and feeding systems before touring the gestation and farrowing areas of the farm.

The tour included opportunities to observe artificial insemination, body condition scoring, birthing and post-partum handling of piglets, split-suckling, castration, euthanasia and record-keeping. Farm personnel were on hand throughout the tour to answer questions. Before showering out and heading back to their respective practices, the tour participants enjoyed a luncheon featuring – of course – pork loin.