March 2012 President’s Letter

Categories: President's Message
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Published on: March 15, 2012

Greetings from tropical Kansas, as we have yet to experience any significant winter weather. Moisture here has come mostly in the form of rain and travel problems have been very limited. We needed a mild winter to help out the short forage supplies and so far have been blessed.  Many ranchers have been counting bales and calculating how many days of supply they have left. Needless to say, open cows and ones losing calves don’t get to eat very long until they are available to someone else as recipients (there is always a silver lining). Calving season is in full swing, so I would expect a major blizzard any time. Bull sale season is also in full swing and I don’t think I have ever seen this much optimism. The local sale barn has seen a steady stream of older bulls all winter as the cull price has gone up. Those all now need to be replaced, hopefully with good-quality embryo transfer bulls from our clients.

The AETA board of directors held our winter meeting in conjunction with the IETS annual convention in Phoenix, Arizona. The pre-conference symposium we sponsored with IETS was very well attended and was a full day of extremely informative lectures and discussion. Thanks to Dr. Charles Looney for his efforts on that program.

New certification guidelines were adopted to reflect that we now certify individual practitioners and not embryo transfer businesses. A continuing education option has been added, which will encourage (but not require) practitioners to visit one another’s practices. A report from the certification committee is in this newsletter.

A position statement on embryo transfer being the practice of veterinary medicine was adopted with little opposition after lengthy discussion and careful consideration by the board of directors.  The statement in its entirety is contained in this newsletter. The board and an ad hoc committee worked at length on this issue since the membership asked for it with a vote last August in San Antonio. I think this statement reflects the majority sentiment of our membership, realizing we have within our membership very wide-ranging background and practice settings. What we must remember is that the AETA is not a regulatory organization.  This power lies with individual states.  It is up to each state legislature and the corresponding boards of veterinary examiners to determine what qualifications are required to perform given veterinary procedures within their jurisdiction. Veterinary practice acts are discussed and debated every year in state legislatures around the country. The AETA’s mission remains the education, dissemination of information, and support of the embryo transfer industry in the United States. What this statement gives us is a basis for comment when asked our position and a guideline for design of continuing education programs in the future. What it does not do is change requirements for membership in the AETA, support of our members who are performing ET procedures legally and ethically, or our commitment to the industry as a whole. I would like to personally thank the committee members and anyone who expressed their heartfelt opinion on this. I do believe the only way to make progress is to discuss issues openly in a respectful manner, make a democratic decision, move on, and remain friends.

The cooperator committee has reported a very successful effort with results in Russia. A story picked up on a national TV station with video and commentary (in Russian) was very positive for the program and was advertising that we could not purchase at any price for US genetics and our embryo industry. This committee continues to be quite active with ambitions to expand into other markets worldwide in cooperation with US Livestock Genetics Export (USLGE).

The new website is up and running so check it out, try maneuvering and give us some feedback on how it works. The education committee has worked with the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) IT staff very hard on this project and as we move more toward web-based communication with members, we need to make sure members are happy with the process. We hope to get to a point where most of our renewals and activity surveys are submitted via the Web. This saves a lot of time manually entering data and therefore provides savings on FASS time we are billed for.

I again would like to personally thank anyone who serves on a committee.  This is where the great things that happen in our organization get accomplished.

I hope everyone has a successful spring, whether that means a busy ET practice, a lower golf score, good fishing, or high cattle and milk prices. Whatever you spend your time doing, please be safe so we can enjoy each other’s company in Winnipeg, Manitoba this September.

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