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No more unwanted small animals

I will soon begin to distribute a Petition asking for legislation which forgives incrementally the student loans of Veterinarians who provide services to animals who otherwise could not afford said services, namely :

1. Services spaying, and neutering companion, stray and feral animals;

2. Services providing medical care for such animals; and,

3. Serving such animals as part of FEMA disaster relief teams.

For instance after two years of experience under a master veterinarian, and after obtaining certification in humane shelter standards, donating three hundred (300) hours a year (25 hours a month) will eliminate ten per cent (10%) of the student loan - ten (10) years of such service will eliminate one hundred per cent (100%) of the loan.

1. The National Veterinary Medical Service Act

There is an amendment to the 2007 Farm bill which eliminates veterinarian student loans if Vets serve agri-business and government agencies (the USDA).

Titled, The National Veterinary Medical Service Act (P.L. 108-161) (NVMSA), the Bush Administration at first refused to fund the NVMSA and then diverted the funds but has since been ordered to produce the rules and funding by May, 2008.
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2. Status of The National Veterinary Medical Service Act(NVMSA)(P.L. 108-161)

The Bush Administration delayed funding for NVMSA, failed to prioritize its rule-making process, or attempt to develop NVMSA’s reserve emergency veterinary corps component. The USDA reprogrammed NVMSA money to a pre-existing loan repayment program, previously funded by FSIS’s budget, for federal employees.

The Senate’s 2007 Farm Bill amended NVMSA to prioritize rural large and mixed animal practitioners in the program’s initial implementation, and made illegal the transfer of NVMSA money to the federal employee loan repayment program, and provided a deadline for rule promulgation.

The Senate Appropriation Committee’s FY08 Committee Report requested from the USDA an implementation plan by May 2008.

One of the Senate's primary objectives in amending NVMSA was to attract more food and mixed animal veterinarians into the rural communities that currently lack these services.

As you may know, mixed animal veterinarians provide care to both small (i.e. dogs and cats) and large (i.e. cows, pigs, horses) animals. A 'food' animal veterinarian is one who cares for animals that produce food (milk, eggs, etc.) and those that will become food (cattle, poultry, swine, etc.).
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3. NVMSA in the Federal Register (See the attached to view the Full Doc)

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
Food Safety and Inspection Service
Implementation of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Authorized by the National Veterinary Medical Service Act

AGENCY: Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about FSIS NVMSA loan repayment opportunities: Ronald K. Jones, Phone: 202-720-9521 or Ronald.Jones@fsis.usda.gov. For information about overallimplementation of NVMSA: Gary B. Sherman, Phone: 202-401-4952 or Gary.Sherman@csrees.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In January, 2003, the NVMSA passed into law. It established a new Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment program authorizing the Secretary to carry out a program of entering into agreements with veterinarians under which they provide veterinary services in veterinarian shortage situations.
In determining veterinarian shortage situations the Act authorizes the Secretary to consider:(1) Urban or rural areas that the Secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians;(2) areas of veterinary practice that the Secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians, such as public health, epidemiology, and food safety;(3) areas of veterinary need in the Federal Government; and(4) other factors the Secretary considers to be relevant.
In November 2005, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006 (Pub. L. 109-97) appropriated $500,000 for CSREES to implement the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment program and represented the first time funds had been expressly appropriated for this program.

In February 2007, the Revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2007 (Pub. L. 110-5) appropriated an additional $495,000 for CSREES for the program....

Done at Washington, DC this 20th day of August, 2007. Colien Hefferan, Administrator, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. Alfred V. Almanza, Administrator, Food Safety and Inspection Service.FR Doc. 07-4138 Filed 8-23-07; 8:45 am

4. Criticism of the NVMSA

As I understand it, under the NVMSA amendment to the Farm Bill, Vets get credit toward student loan forgiveness for practicing and charging normal fees in rural under served areas; or as Vets in government employment (in the USDA).

It is interesting that those who work for the govt., often with superior benefits, get this perk but vets who serve the public are not eligible.

There are no free services for community spay or neuter programs or service to animal shelters in the NVMSA Farm Bill amendment - in fact no free services to individuals or animals at all.

The poor will not get free services - they will get (maybe) a veterinary practice in under served area. This does not help anyone but wealthy farmers and the USDA, because everyone is still paying for services.

If they cannot afford those services, people and animals will not be served. There is a whole layer of people who can no longer afford vet care, probably partly because of those Vet Student Loans.

The NVMSA Farm Bill amendment does not meet the needs of counties, shelters and individuals struggling with an epidemic of animal abuse and neglect in every county of every state. At the same time, small animal Vets are graduating with $140,000.00 in student loans. This means a Vet’s ability to work in low paying non-profits, in service to society and animals, is non-existent.

We know there are large numbers of unwanted, stray and ferals in every county of every state. Humane societies are killing 200 animals every month and Counties are paying for this. In many states, even at shelters, animals are not killed humanely.

There are poor people who love animals in every county of every state, not just in low income counties.
Unwanted pet population results from the fact that people cannot afford spay and neuter services.
To spay and neuter an entire feral cat population on a farm will not happen without free services.
The reduction of the kill rates at shelters will not happen without free spay and neuter services.
Yet Congress is using the NVMSA amendment only to subsidize farmers and the government.

5. Green Initiatives Proposal

I am advocating new student loan forgiveness legislation, which will provide spay and neuter and other Vet services to every County, in every state.

Thus, we will reduce the unwanted and expensive pet overpopulation problem. This will free the counties to use Animal Control Officers to combat dog and cock fighting which has become epidemic.

If every county were to benefit from Vet loan forgiveness legislation, the majority would support legislation that would eliminate a major source of animal suffering and county expenditures due to the overpopulation of unwanted and abused animals.

Service Vets could give spay/neuter, preventive care (and euthanasia) in every county of every state to ferals, strays and companion animals who are unwanted or too poor to afford service. Shelters , sanctuaries, counties, poor individuals and animals would benefit from this legislation.
Vets would benefit.

Service Vets would give 20 to 30 hours a month, 300 hours a year to eliminate 1% of their student loan payment. After 10 years of such service their debt would be cancelled. Ten years of free spay and neuter, 30 hours a month, by 5/10/15 vets in every County of every state, will eliminate the unwanted animal problem.

The only requirement would be that the Vets have 2 years work with an experienced vet before they begin the debt cancellation program. Their knowledge of shelter standards would be certified by the National Humane Society before they would begin their loan forgiveness hours.

Any non-profit shelter could verify the hours served. In fact such service could take place at county humane shelters and the Vets could insure these shelter agencies meet national standards for humane care.

In the really wealthy counties, counties where the average individual income is $70,000 or more, the Service Vets could earn hours by raising money to get Mobil Vans and equipment for the less fortunate counties. The Service Vets in really wealthy counties, if they are not needed there, could work in poorer counties or accept people from poorer counties or raise money for equipment needed in poorer surrounding counties.

Service Vets would be on a data base that Homeland Security would use to draft vets when small animal Vet Rescue Teams are needed to staff the Pets Evacuation Act in disasters such as hurricanes, fires and floods. Such Veterinarian Service Corps teams are required for food animals by the NVMSA.

As long as we are rescuing unwanted cats and dogs, our attention is absorbed and the big abusers are safe to continue their monstrous practices. We, by passing Vet Student Loan Forgiveness legislation, can stop this diversion of resources into rescues without end.

With the help of County Humane Societies, the Counties will endorse such legislation. This is an action that will end the overpopulation crises not just rescue a never ending population of abandoned and tortured animals.


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