Caring Vets at Dairy Doctor
Leadership & Education

Drug Residue Task Force

The Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) Residue Task Force has received the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) 2012 President’s Award.
The 2012 AVMA President’s Award recognizes individuals and groups inside and outside veterinary medicine who have made a positive impact on animal, human or public health, veterinary organizations and the profession. In 2009, the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) learned Wisconsin was leading the nation in drug tissue residues in dairy beef. From there, a taskforce of WVMA members including Dr. Jeffrey Bleck was formed to learn more and collect information. Although some industry stakeholders called for increased regulation, the WVMA felt a non-regulatory solution was more appropriate. Leading on this issue and seeing its potential, WVMA asked the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) to join in on educational outreach for both producers and veterinarians on Wisconsin’s top ranking in residues. In its third phase, this educational outreach has developed into the WVMA Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) for Proper Drug Use, a six-step plan addressing not only food safety, but long-term proper drug use on dairies and which identifies risks and institutes control methods.

The WVMA’s HACCP for Proper Drug Use six steps are:

  • Veterinarian/Client/Patient Relationship (VCPR) –identifying the VCPR team
  • Drug List – finding all drugs used and how they are used
  • Protocols – developing protocols based on the farm and skill sets of employees
  • SOPs – developing SOPs based on the farm and skill sets of employees
  • Records – defining what needs to be recorded
  • Oversight – veterinary oversight to evaluate drug use, protocol/SOPs drift, and management/economic information.
This process is an effective and achievable way to address food safety and ultimately proper drug use. The Wisconsin VMA’s efforts have changed minds and behaviors and, as a result, have seen a significant reduction in dairy tissue residues. For more information, please visit

The Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) condemns intentional abuse of any animals.

The WVMA has adopted the following guiding principle for its membership.

Animal Abuse and Neglect Guiding Principle

As part of the veterinary oath, it is our responsibility to report animal abuse and suspected animal abuse. Our mandate, from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), includes “the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, and the promotion of public health. It is our responsibility as veterinarians to educate our clients regarding the humane care and treatment of animals. In situations where we suspect inhumane actions are occurring, we should try to educate the client on proper care. When the abuse is intentional, and/or the client is not receptive to changing the condition, the veterinarian should contact appropriate authorities, such as local law enforcement and humane authorities.

Food Animal Welfare – Guiding Principles established by the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association

The Public Health and Food Safety Committee comprised of 15 members of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) assists the WVMA to be prepared to protect public health and be able to respond effectively to animal health issues and management by making the public confident in the veterinarian’s role in animal health and public safety issues.

The six principles for food animal welfare are:
  1. Disabled cattle
  2. Euthanasia of food animals
  3. Lameness in the dairy industry
  4. On farm surgery by non-licensed personnel
  5. Pain management
  6. Tail docking

In each of these areas, the veterinarian is trained to access the animal, offer diagnoses, and plan for the welfare of the animal.

Disabled cattle

Guiding principle: The WVMA recognizes disabled cattle prognosis and treatment plan development as a vital aspect of the veterinarian client patient relationship (VCPR) on every dairy farm. Disabled cattle should be examined by a veterinarian in a timely manner to determine a prognosis and treatment plan for the individual animal. Disabled cattle need to be handled humanely in all situations. When moving down cows they should be placed on a suitable surface that prevents direct and indirect injury to the animal while being moved.

Euthanasia of food animals

Guiding principle: Veterinarians are a valuable asset to help make timely decisions. Considerations that make euthanasia the best valuable option are incurable conditions, the likelihood of treatment failure, potential for animal suffering and presence of drug residues. The decision to euthanize a food animal should be made as soon as the fore mentioned conditions are recognized, and implemented in a timely manner to minimize animal suffering.

Lameness in the dairy industry

Guiding principles: 1) It is the responsibility of the veterinary medical profession to be involved in monitoring lameness prevalence, prevention, diagnosis and treatment plans. The goal of this role is to limit the pain and suffering caused by lameness. 2) Regardless of the scale used, any animal with a moderate lameness or worse should receive timely treatments. 3) It is unacceptable to maintain animals with chronically severe lameness when the underlying cause is incurable, the prognosis for resolution of pathology is poor or pain abatement is impossible. Such animals should be salvaged as soon as possible once one of the fore mentioned situations exists.

On farm surgery by non-licensed personnel

Guiding principle: Surgery on food producing animals should be limited to licensed veterinarians.

Pain Management

Guiding principle: The WVMA recognizes pain control, prevention and treatment as a vital aspect of the veterinarian client patient relationship (VCRP) on every dairy farm. Veterinarians are urged to educate their clients and themselves about recognizing acute and chronic pain signs and relieving it through management, optimally designed housing and medication.

Tail docking

Guiding principle: The Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association opposes routine tail docking of cattle. Current scientific literature indicates that routine tail docking provides no benefit to the animal.

Dairy and Ag Industry Organizational LINKS:
Center for Dairy Profitability
Dairy Business Association
Dairy Herd Management
Dairy Today
Hoard’s Dairyman
Lakeshore Technical College
Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin
Progressive Dairyman
The Dairyland Initiative
University of Wisconsin Madison
UW-Madison Farm & Industry Short Course
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Wisconsin Holstein Association
World Dairy Expo

Veterinary Based LINKS:
American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP)
American Embryo Transfer Association (AETA)
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
Bovine Veterinarian
The Dairyland Initiative
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine
Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA)