WASHINGTON, March 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), both veterinarians, have joined forces to form the first-ever, bipartisan Veterinary Medicine Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the March 6 letter the congressmen sent to fellow representatives inviting them to join the caucus, they underscored the critical role the profession of veterinary medicine plays in a healthy society and stated that the caucus aims to "increase awareness of the importance of veterinary medicine on research, public health, animal health and welfare, food safety and our overall economy." Caucuses are topically focused organizational structures within Congress that are designed to convey educational content to other legislators and help generate awareness and support for specific initiatives. Caucuses can draft and advance legislation, provide Congressional testimony, and conduct briefings, events and hearings. "I look forward to championing common sense legislation that benefits both the veterinary profession and our nation, whether that's related to animal welfare, research, food safety, or disease detection and prevention," Yoho said. "For the most part, I think that people have no idea what a major role veterinarians play in advancing the health of both animals and people. This caucus will be a great way to spread the word among legislators and other decision makers who have the power and influence to make a difference." Congressman Schrader was equally enthusiastic in expressing support for the ground-breaking initiative. "It is great to have a fellow veterinarian and partner on the other side of the aisle in Rep. Yoho, who understands and shares the priorities of the veterinary community. Together, I hope we can use our unique experience and perspective in the field of veterinary medicine to educate and engage our fellow members of congress on its impacts on public health, animal health and welfare and food safety."