Chairman's Report

August 2006

Being truly unique in our mission and having a history spanning more than 120 years, there are few organizations with a heritage anything like ours. However, in recently learning more about the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), I have been struck at the many parallels it shares with the AKC.

Both the AKC and AVMA take seriously our missions to serve our core constituencies -- the fancy and the veterinary profession respectively -- but we also each make a commitment to public education, animal welfare and to enhancing people’s lives through an understanding and appreciation of animals.

The AVMA came to life via a meeting in New York of about 40 practitioners from across the East coast in 1863. Originally named the USVMA, it was renamed AVMA in 1889. The organization has a long-published magazine, which was christened the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) in 1915. As the most widely distributed veterinary medical journal, JAVMA is the voice of the profession. Incidentally, the August issue of JAVMA features on its cover a painting of a Dachshund by Louis Contoit, owned by the AKC and displayed in our New York office.

Today, the American Veterinary Medical Association has more than 74,000 members  working in private and corporate practice, government, public health, research, industry, academia, and uniformed services. These dedicated individuals use their passion and profession to protect the health and well-being of humans, animals and the environment.

While we always had a pleasant and cooperative relationship with AVMA, I’m pleased to say that recent meetings bode well for future cooperation of greater significance. This winter and spring, I was pleased to host then AVMA President Dr. Henry Childers and many of his colleagues at meetings in the New York office where they met with our staff to discuss potential collaborations between the two organizations.

Following these initial meetings, AKC staff visited AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill. outside Chicago. Topics of conversation included public education and public relations initiatives, the impact of federal legislation such as the Pet Animal Welfare Statute of 2005 and the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 as well as issues regarding the regulation of the microchip industry.

The meeting presented an opportunity to inform AVMA about our recently launched Veterinary Network Certificate Program which offers all AKC-registered puppy owners a complimentary first veterinary office visit with one of the 2,500 practices enrolled in the program.

Also explored were ways that AVMA can benefit from resources such as our Parent Clubs and the AKC Canine Health Foundation. The AKC shared case studies with AVMA on how parent clubs work closely with AKC/CHF to combat disease and illness in dogs and how advances in canine health have positive implications for humans. 

At the 143rd AVMA National Convention held last month in Honolulu, AKC hosted booths representing AKC Veterinary Outreach, AKC Companion Animal Recovery and AKC/ CHF.  AKC/CAR Assistant Vice President Jason Miller spoke with newly elected AVMA President Roger Mahr to further discuss federal microchip regulations. Also, AKC Director of Veterinary Outreach Debra Bonnefond informed AVMA officers, veterinarians, technicians and students how to best tap into AKC resources. She also spoke with FEMA’s Chief Veterinary Medical Officer about our disaster relief efforts.  

This outreach and reciprocity has created an atmosphere of cooperation and good will that I feel will ultimately benefit all dogs and their owners by providing them with resources and information from two of the leading authorities in the animal world. AKC is proud to share a legacy that is similar to AVMA’s and in working together, I know we can look forward to a future filled with great accomplishments.

Sincerely,


Ron Menaker
Chairman