Letters to the Editor

Restore funding for Penn Vet

Many Pennsylvanians trust their beloved pets to the care of their veterinarian because they know veterinarians provide compassionate care for companion animals. However, few Pennsylvanians are aware of the role veterinarians play in protecting the food supply.

Penn Vet, the only School of Veterinary Medicine in Pennsylvania, has received funding from Pennsylvania until the most recent state budget proposal. The funding Penn Vet receives is critical to protecting public health and Pennsylvania’s food supply.

Consider: Penn Vet has the personnel and facilities to fight re-emerging threats such as rabies. There is no other facility in the state with the diagnostics capable of a timely rabies assessment, as well as the ability to pursue other diagnostics in the event of a negative result.

Penn Vet’s Swine Center collects data on where swine viruses occur, helping farmers and truckers see where disease is present to prevent its spread. The program maintains a map covering 1.29 million hogs in the state and has resulted in a 30 percent reduction in the number of pigs in the program with viruses.

During the previous budget impasse, Penn Vet conducted 70,000 tests for Avian Influenza without payment during a time when the disease was causing billions in losses in the Midwest.

Penn Vet’s role in developing an egg quality assurance program in Pennsylvania results in 99.99 percent of Pennsylvania eggs making it to market without salmonella.

Let’s take steps to ensure Pennsylvania has a safe food supply by restoring funding for Penn Vet.

Dr. Joan C. Hendricks, Philadelphia

Dr. Joan C. Hendricks, VMD, Ph.D., is the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.