November 26, 2012

ASAS representatives bring animal science to D.C.

ASAS representatives gather at the AVMA offices in Washington, D.C.

On Nov. 15 and 16, representatives for ASAS met in Washington, D.C. to share scientific information with important animal agriculture-related groups.

In a meeting with the Animal Agriculture Coalition (AAC), ASAS presented the ASAS FAIR Summary, the Innovate 2012 Summary, Animal Frontiers and the ASAS Grand Challenges. The AAC is a coalition of groups affiliated with animal agriculture including commodity associations, organizations affiliated with the animal agriculture industry and scientific societies. In addition to hearing from ASAS, AAC members discussed the status of the Farm Bill, policies surrounding genetically engineered animals and funding for the animal sciences. Representatives from ASAS offered for society members to serve as experts on these and other animal agriculture issues.

ASAS representatives also met with Andrew Vlasaty, professional staff member for Pat Roberts, ranking Republican member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Vlasaty said the ASAS Grand Challenges could be helpful as the committee organizes briefings. Vlasaty also said animal scientists would be welcome as experts at Senate briefings.

Several ASAS representatives made a short trip to Rockville, MD to meet with Bernadette Dunham, DVM, PhD, director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Dunham said CVM is working to protect animal and human health by conducting programs focused on reducing drug residues in food producing animals, addressing illegal animal drug compounding, and assuring the safety of imported animal products. Dunham said CVM would be interested in working with ASAS to produce webinars on animal health issues.

During this trip, ASAS also met with several retail groups. Like animal scientists, retailers are interested in issues like food safety, animal management, grain production and antimicrobial use.

Jeff Sands, director of public policy for the Agricultural Retailers Association, said outreach is important for policy makers. He suggested that ASAS produce small cards with highlights from the ASAS Grand Challenges. Robert Rosado, director of government relations for the Food Marketing Institute said that ASAS experts’ perspective on food safety, production systems and animal housing are important for his group. Mike Mullins, vice president of corporate affairs for Cargill, said his company is interested in research into growth promotants and food safety. ASAS representative also met with James “Tres” Bailey, director of federal government regulations for Walmart. Bailey suggested that ASAS members watch for the launch of a new Temple Grandin foundation.

Through these offices visits, ASAS introduced new groups to ongoing ASAS projects. The new ASAS Grand Challenge documents can help these groups support the future of animal science. Each group also asked to receive Animal Frontiers as a resource to use in the office.

The ASAS representatives on this trip were Debora Hamernik, chair of the ASAS Public Policy Committee; Kris Johnson, member of the ASAS Public Policy committee; Dean Hawkins, member of the ASAS Public Policy Committee; Margaret Benson, ASAS past president; Lowell Randel, FASS Science Policy Director; Walt Smith, FASS Science Policy Director; Meghan Wulster Radcliffe, ASAS CEO; and Madeline McCurry-Schmidt, ASAS Scientific Communications Associate.

Learn more about ASAS Public Policy

View the ASAS Grand Challenges