Just before the end of the semester, we were able to get hands-on experience with the role that USDA-accredited veterinarians have with regards to animal transport and movement. We were divided into small groups to work on domestic and international travel scenarios for animals. We acted as the accredited veterinarians responsible for granting or denying the animals’ transport requests, coordinating their movement, and filling out the required regulatory agency forms.
This exercise opened my eyes to the intricacies of animal transport and the various regulations that each state has and how they differ. The project required attention to detail and a lot of investigation to ensure that all state and federal regulations were being obeyed. It gave me a lot of respect and appreciation for accredited veterinarians and how complex granting health certificates can be.
With our scenario, we contacted local veterinarians working with regulatory agencies, which gave us a unique opportunity to engage with public health veterinarians as well as those working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. It demonstrates just how interconnected the field of veterinary medicine is with policy and state and federal law. I also learned from this project that unfortunately, sometimes the answer has to be “no” and that is just as important, if not more so than granting permission. We, as veterinarians, have a lot of power and responsibility to protect animal health and prevent disease spread. We are the experts at the forefront of public health as it relates to humans and animals. This demonstrates yet again how interdisciplinary and important the field of veterinary medicine is, and I find that to be extremely exciting.