Introduced Version House Concurrent Resolution 68 History

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(By Delegates Hamrick, Hanshaw (Mr. Speakers), Barach, Boggs, Clark, Dean, Doyle, Ellington, Evans, Ferrell, Griffith, Hanna, Howell, Kimble, Longanacre, Lovejoy, Mallow, Maynor, Mazzocchi, Pack, Pushkin, Skaff, Smith, Storch, Sypolt, Thompson, Toney, and Walker)

[February 15, 2022]


Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to conduct a formal feasibility study on the viability of establishing an accredited school of veterinary medicine in West Virginia.

Whereas, Currently, there are only 33 accredited schools of veterinary medicine (“veterinary schools”) in the United States, with only 27 states housing veterinary schools*; and

Whereas, “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2019 that employment for veterinarians nationwide would increase 16% over the next decade, more than double the national average occupational growth (5%-8%)” *; and

Whereas, “Throughout 2021, multiple news organizations in West Virginia published articles describing the dire veterinarian shortage” *; and

Whereas, In 2018, the American Veterinary Medical Association Economics Division identified 113,394 veterinarians living in the United States, of whom 20,000 are expected to retire within the next five to 10 years*; and

Whereas, Most counties in West Virginia have fewer veterinarians than the national average per capita and eight counties have no veterinarian at all*; and

Whereas, West Virginia does not currently have a veterinary school and, therefore, West Virginia students must leave the state and pay out-of-state tuition to pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree*; and

Whereas, West Virginia currently spends $1,040,520 per year to supplement the tuition of 52 West Virginia students who attend veterinary schools at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (“Virginia Tech”) (six seats per class) and Mississippi State University (“Mississippi State”) (seven seats per class) *;

Whereas, In addition to the 13 West Virginia first year students who held seats at veterinary schools at Virginia Tech and Mississippi State, an additional 12 West Virginia students were identified as first year veterinary students in 2021 in an American Association of Veterinary Medical College internal data report*; and

Whereas, The West Virginia students who meet the minimum qualifications for admissions to the programs at Virginia Tech and Mississippi State has increased from 35 students in 2016-17 to 70 students in 2020-21;

Whereas, Over the last two decades, applications to veterinary schools nationally have increased by 53 percent*; and

Whereas, Establishing a veterinary school in West Virginia would enable West Virginia students to remain in West Virginia for their education; and

Whereas, Current student enrollment and interest in animal and nutritional science programs at state colleges and universities demonstrates the need for a veterinary school within the state; and

Whereas, West Virginia has a rich history of agriculture and is committed to developing a sustainable plan to maximize the agricultural sector for economic growth and prosperity, including the development and retention of large animal veterinarians to serve the state’s growing agriculture industry; and

Whereas, There exists a need for educated and experienced professionals within the state to support the long-term prosperity of the agricultural industry; and

Whereas, Having a veterinary school in West Virginia would attract students from across the nation to West Virginia, contributing to the economy and providing for the potential that the students will stay in West Virginia; therefore, be it

Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance, through the Legislative Auditor, is hereby requested to conduct a formal feasibility study on the viability of an accredited veterinary school in West Virginia, and, if necessary, is authorized to contract for the performance of such study with an outside vender; and, be it

Further Resolved,

That the study shall focus on the most efficient and practical use of existing programs of study at state colleges and universities and the opportunity to incorporate these programs in a manner to prepare students for a pathway of veterinary medicine, and develop and retain veterinarians within the state; and, be it

Further Resolved,

That the study shall include a report on all barriers and impediments to creating an accredited veterinary school; and, be it

Further Resolved,

That pending the results of the study and in the interim period leading up to the establishment of any veterinary school, additional seats at other states’ veterinary schools are necessary to ensure that the veterinary needs of West Virginia are met; and, be it

Further Resolved,

That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2023, on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it

Further Resolved,

That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, prepare a report, and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance; and, be it

Further Resolved,

That the funding necessary to secure additional seats at other states’ veterinary schools be paid through legislative appropriations to the state’s annual budget.


* Division of Regulatory and Fiscal Affairs, Viability of West Virginia Veterinary Medical School, presented to West Virginia Special Committee on Viability of WV Veterinary Medicine School – Higher Education, November 15, 2021

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