Washington Update

FASEB and AAVMC Host Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Congressional Briefing.jpgOn April 19, FASEB hosted a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill to educate staffers about the role of large animal research in advancing biomedical research, veterinary medicine, and agricultural progress. In partnership with the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), the briefing emphasized how research benefiting both humans and animals must be accessible, encouraged, and robustly funded by the federal government. To demonstrate this, keynote speakers shared how dog research is necessary to develop cancer therapies and farm animal studies are essential for addressing emerging diseases, including the recent avian influenza (H5N1) outbreak.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS) sponsored the FASEB-AAVMC congressional briefing and provided opening remarks. Hyde-Smith underscored the importance of large animal research to enhance the quality of life for humans and animals alike. Additionally, the senator stressed that a highly skilled veterinary workforce is vital for the U.S. to maintain its competitive edge on the global stage; however, the country is facing a shortage of large animal veterinarians, particularly in rural regions. Representing a state that depends on strong agricultural outputs, Mann spoke about the need for more research to enable a comprehensive understanding of best practices for optimal agricultural productivity.

Congressional Briefing.jpgModerated by FASEB President Kevin Kregel, PhD, the first keynote speaker Nicola Mason, BVetMed, PhD, discussed her research with dogs to advance treatments for cancers such as osteosarcoma. Dogs are susceptible to the same cancers as humans because they share the same environment and hold close genetic and physiological similarities. Mason’s team at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine successfully developed immunotherapies to treat osteosarcoma for both humans and dogs. Her work was recently highlighted on 60 Minutes.

Yuko Sato, DVM, MS, DACPV, of Iowa State University shared how research with farm animals holds profound economic and agricultural impacts. For example, the 2015 avian influenza outbreak—an epidemic that cost the government over $1 billion—prompted research labs and farms to be more proactive, making significant improvements in biosecurity that are now part of a new normal. However, Sato emphasized that more research and federal investments are needed to enhance understanding of emerging diseases, manage future outbreaks or pandemics, and create potential vaccines that protect humans and animals.

View FASEB’s list of resources to learn more about its advocacy efforts on animal research.