April 24, 2017

Finally – a Secretary of Agriculture

By Patricia Crystal

I am excited to say that we have a Secretary of Agriculture! After a busy day at the National Institutes of Health, I hurried to the Hill to watch the vote, which was scheduled for 5:30PM in the Senate gallery. In order to get into the gallery, I had to grab a pass from one of my Pennsylvania Senators. I then ran across the street to the Capitol and managed to get into the gallery around 4:45PM. There are rows of seats above the Senate floor that look down onto the Senators – similar to amphitheater seating. Several senators announced their nomination and support for Dr. Perdue, and the vote began. Senators casually wandered in and out of the chamber, announcing their vote as they did so. I expected the voting process to be much more formal, with all members present at once and seated in their respective chairs. At 6:00PM they announced the vote results and the secretary was confirmed.

The beginning of my day was filled with a tour of the NIH facilities. I met several veterinarians from the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, which provides guidance on policies related to humane uses for laboratory animals, educational outreach and investigates complaints. From there I went to the main NIH campus, which actually looks much like a college campus with large green expanses and lots of trees. I met a veterinarian involved with NIH’s governmental affairs, an animal program director for a laboratory, and a veterinary surgeon. I was also able to tour the NIH veterinary facilities, where surgeries are performed, as well as the primate facility. Overall it was a great introduction to the various roles that veterinarians can play in the NIH, as well as the incredibly large scope of their research.

Tomorrow I will be heading to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to their offices of International Affairs. I am excited to see what their division does, and understand the roles veterinarians play.