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The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has changed the language in the oath all veterinarians take.
Here's the wording of the new oath: "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.”
“The message is we as the AVMA and veterinarians in general do recognize that protecting animal well-being is what we’re all about,” (AVMA Executive Board Chair John R.) Brooks says.
“From today forward, every graduate entering our profession will swear an oath not only to protect animal health but also welfare; to not only relieve animal suffering but to prevent it. That’s a powerful statement defining ourselves and our responsibilities, not a vague symbol,” adds Dr. J. Bruce Nixon, chairman-elect of the (AVMA's) Animal Welfare Commission.
The oath previously made no mention of animal welfare and, while the revision does not include definition of what animal welfare means, the result of deliberations on the language addition was that it already is past the time to act if AVMA is to be seen as a leader in animal welfare—a goal the group stressed at the Joint International Educational Symposium on Animal Welfare it co-sponsored last year.
I think it might surprise a lot of people that language like that wasn't part of the oath all along. But growing up as an Idaho farm boy who went on to become a veterinarian, I can tell you that public health and food production were the original focuses of veterinary medicine.
What do you think about this change?