SCHAUMBURG, Ill. -- The American Veterinary Medical Association  has released a video of its CEO commenting on the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20 and its effect on wildlife, companion animals and food safety.

The video can be viewed at www.AVMATV.org.

"Like a lot of you, I am deeply concerned," said Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA. "This disaster affects almost every one of the areas that we are concerned about -- the health and safety of companion animals, our precious yet vulnerable wildlife and the safety of our nation's food supply. The AVMA will do our part to help in any way we can to meet the challenges this problem presents."

According to the government's mid-June wildlife impact assessment, 725 birds, 324 sea turtles and 39 marine mammals have been found dead in affected areas. Of the 600 recovered live animals, only 43 have been returned to the wild. The American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) is compiling a database of people interested in volunteering to help if needed.

DeHaven cautioned individuals to go through an organization such as the AAZV if they are interested in helping, since cleanup work requires training and can be dangerous. Cleanup work is already underway in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. Along with numerous private and government agencies involved in the cleanup, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency are working around the clock to help ensure that food shipped to restaurants and grocers is safe to consume.

SOURCE: American Veterinary Medical Association.