Vilsack Puts Limited Number of APHIS Employees Back to Work
Citing a need for animal vaccines - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has reopened the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Center for Veterinary Biologics. According to a USDA spokesperson - the APHIS shutdown plan outlined that a limited number of agency employees may be required to perform expected activities to protect property, public health and food safety. A limited number of Center for Veterinary Biologics employees that therefore been recalled on a limited basis - the spokesperson says - to address a vaccine shortage - as it could endanger animal health. Still - the majority of the work conducted by the center - such as evaluation and testing of new products - will remain closed due to the government shutdown.
The Center for Veterinary Biologics had been closed this past week. The American Veterinary Medical Association noted the center is responsible for verifying animal vaccines and releasing them into the marketplace to ensure veterinarians and farmers have access to vaccinations needed to keep flocks and herds healthy. In a statement - the group said without a fully functional Center for Veterinary Biologics - these groups would face a dwindling vaccine supply - which could endanger herd health, food safety and public health.
AVMA CEO Ron DeHaven praised Vilsack for reopening the center so veterinarians can access vaccines. He also called on Congress to pass a continuing resolution to reopen the entire government. DeHaven said the group is looking to members of Congress - especially those who are part of the U.S. House Veterinary Medicine Caucus - to exert their leadership and help Congress rise above the partisan bickering to do what is right for Americans and the nation's livestock and pets.
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