General Position Statements
Animal Welfare Position Statements
CVMA Position Statements – Role and Utility
The CVMA National Issues Committee (NIC) and Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) review and monitor veterinary and animal welfare issues on an ongoing basis. The committees develop position statements on issues or matters judged to be of concern to Members. Scientific evidence and/or ethics form the basis of the position statements. Once final drafts statements are finalized by the Committees, they are presented to CVMA Council for approval and adoption.
Purpose of CVMA Position Statements
CVMA position statements serve as guidelines and principles that address veterinary issues and the stewardship and welfare of animals. Positions are meant to guide the profession, and also to educate the public on the veterinary viewpoint on select issues.
Positions are intended to provide a “forward-thinking” viewpoint on issues based on what is happening not just in Canadian society and the veterinary profession, but internationally. Positions are not intended to regulate the profession of veterinary medicine; however, it is recognized that provincial regulatory bodies may consider them when they update or amend veterinary bylaws (e.g., cosmetic surgery, veterinary dentistry).
The AWC deals primarily with the scientific aspects of the well-being of animals, and scientific evidence provides the factual basis for animal welfare positions. The ethical, philosophical, and moral concerns surrounding animal welfare issues are also considered by the AWC.
Issues that require a position are identified by the AWC or NIC and are recommended to Council for approval. In turn, Council may identify an issue on which it requests the AWC or NIC to develop a position. Positions are carefully drafted by committee members after literature review and expert consultation. Arriving at the final draft version of a position statement may entail a number of iterations and months of work. Draft position statements are posted for comment in the Position Statements section of the CVMA website, found under the Policy & Advocacy tab.
Draft positions are flagged with “For Member Consultation” under the appropriate section of Animal Welfare or General Position statements sections. NIC or AWC consider member feedback on the draft position, which is taken into account in the preparing final draft version for Council approval. Provincial veterinary regulatory bodies are provided a draft copy to circulate with an invitation to comment. Final draft versions of positions are reviewed by Council, and approved positions are posted on the CVMA website. Read CVMA Member Consultation Process on Position Statements.
The CVMA positions are used by its members, the public, and also the media. When specific issues arise, media outlets will frequently contact the CVMA seeking the current Canadian veterinary viewpoint. Some recent examples of this include issues related to cosmetic alteration, puppy mills, animal abuse, euthanasia, antimicrobial use/resistance and dangerous dog legislation. Position statements also form the basis of the CVMA media statements. Positions are provided to CVMA spokespersons so that they have concise science-based speaking notes, permitting consistent messaging when discussing issues with the media.