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Waste Disposal by the Veterinary Community

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Proceedings available at: http://www.extension.org/67601

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers several resources to its members and the public regarding various disposal issues encountered by the veterinary community and animal owners. With its veterinary medical expertise, the veterinary profession can be a valuable resource for clients, the general public, regulators, and other stakeholders on carcass and other animal waste disposal issues, especially those involving potential health risks to other animals or the public. The purpose in developing these resources is to further increase awareness by the veterinary profession and its stakeholders of the value, potential hazards, and legal restrictions concerning disposal of animal waste and carcasses.

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Waste Disposal by the Veterinary Community

  1. 1. Waste Disposal by the Veterinary CommunityKristi Henderson, DVM, American Veterinary Medical AssociationAssociation Activities and Products:The AVMA has established policies related to the disposal of animal waste and carcass disposal. Three key policies include“Appropriate Animal Carcass Disposal,” “Animal Carcass Risk in Natural Disasters,” and “Animal Agriculture Waste Management.”All of the AVMA policies related to waste issues can be found under “Knowledge Base” at www.avma.orgThe AVMA advocates safe and environmentally responsible disposal of animal carcasses, whether on an individual animal basis orduring mass mortality events. As such, the AVMA supports increased research and education towards the development of appropriatemethods and guidelines for animal carcass disposal.- AVMA Policy on Appropriate Animal Carcass DisposalConsistent with current scientific literature and the conclusions of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the AVMArecognizes that animals that die from injuries, in cases of natural disasters, generally do not represent a health hazard for humans.The presence of dead bodies that result from a disaster, without the presence of another risk factor, is not the cause for the spread ofinfectious diseases. (1PAHO Manual, Ch 3, Conclusions; p. 81. Washington, )including massive animal deaths 1Management of Dead Bodies in Disaster Situations, Disaster Manuals and Guidelines Series,number 5. Pan American Health Organization, Area on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief, and the World HealthOrganization, Department for Health Action in CrisisDC, 2004.- AVMA Policy on Animal Carcass Risk in Natural DisastersThe AVMA supports the basic premises of current federal and state legislation and regulations enacted to prevent negativeenvironmental impacts from wastes generated by terrestrial or aquatic animal productions. Veterinarians should be aware of thevalue, potential hazards, and legal restrictions concerning animal waste.Therefore the AVMA supports the following:• Education, outreach, and extension programs to assist producers in meeting or exceeding current federal and state requirements.This includes aid in establishing and implementing nutrient management plans as well as design and construction of effectivewaste management facilities to prevent contamination of the environment.• Science based research on animal waste management systems and procedures to allow animal waste materials to be utilized asnutrient sources for sustainable agriculture systems.• Scientific studies of the impact of pathogens and chemicals from animal/human waste sources on the environment.- AVMA Policy on Animal Agriculture Waste ManagementAdditionally, the AVMA has developed the microsite, www.avma.org/wastedisposal.Sections of the microsite addressing topics such as “Federal Regulations of WasteDisposal,” “State-based Waste Disposal Resources,” and “AVMA Policies Relevantto Waste Disposal,” are accessible by the general public. Specific “Clinical Resources”pages, such as “Animal Carcass Disposal,” “Animal Waste Disposal,” “Recordkeeping,”and more are accessible only by AVMA members. On a similar note and because ofits expertise, the Association was consulted during the development of the VeterinaryCompliance Assistance (VetCA) website (www.vetca.org) by the National Centerfor Manufacturing Sciences under the National Compliance Assistance Centersprogram. Funding for this latter project has been provided by the U.S. EnvironmentalProtection Agency.The “Green Veterinary Practices” microsite has also been developed by the AVMA.The web pages provide AVMA members and the public information on sustainablepractices. Not only does the site discuss what the AVMA is doing, it also providesresources for integrating eco-friendly features into veterinary practices as well asopportunities for including eco-friendly practices in facility designs.In addition to policy and resource development,the AMVA is active in advocacy. Relatedto waste issues, the Association has weighedin on Federal Register items such as DocketNumber [EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0188], theNational Pollutant Discharge EliminationSystem (NPDES) Concentrated AnimalFeeding Operation (CAFO) Reporting Ruleand Docket Number [EPA-OW-2011-0466],Draft Recreational Water Quality Criteria andRequest for Scientific Views. To view all of theAVMA’s advocacy information, please click on“Advocacy” from the AVMA’s home page,www.avma.org.Take-home message:Integrative efforts ofmultiple disciplines andstakeholders are needed tobetter enhance the scienceof waste management aswell as to help bridge thegaps between such scienceand sociopolitical opinions.Introduction and Purpose:The American Veterinary Medical Association(AVMA) offers several resources to its membersand the public regarding various disposal issuesencountered by the veterinary community andanimal owners. With its veterinary medicalexpertise, the veterinary profession can be avaluable resource for clients, the general public,regulators, and other stakeholders on carcass andother animal waste disposal issues, especially thoseinvolving potential health risks to other animalsor the public. The purpose in developing theseresources is to further increase awareness by theveterinary profession and its stakeholders of thevalue, potential hazards, and legal restrictionsconcerning disposal of animal waste and carcasses.In addition to the pharmaceutical disposal information within theaforementioned resources, the AVMA has partnered with the NationalSea Grant Office (NSGO), Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S.Department of Commerce to combine efforts and develop a jointoutreach and educational campaign for veterinary clients regarding properpharmaceutical disposal. Information and products associated with thecollaborative effort are available at www.avma.org/unwantedmeds.Less specific to waste and sustainability issues, but still deserving ofmention relative to animal agriculture and its interconnections withenvironmental and public health are the AVMA microsites, “FoodSupply Veterinary Medicine” (www.avma.org/fsvm), “One Health”(www.avma.org/onehealth), and “Keep Our Food Safe”(www.keepourfoodsafe.org). The resources are available tomember and the public.

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