SCHAUMBURG, Ill., June 25 Upon learning of disturbing newfootage showing cattle abused at a Portales, N.M., livestock auction, theAmerican Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today strongly condemned thecruelty and issued a call for stricter adherence to humane animal handlingguidelines and standards.
In a statement released on its Web site (http://www.avma.org), the AVMAlabeled the abuse, which was shown in a video released publicly today by theHumane Society of the United States (HSUS) and which included cows beingrepeatedly shocked with electric prods and dragged by chains while alive, as"inhumane" and "unacceptable."
"The food animal production system failed these animals," said Dr. W. RonDeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA. "Everyone involved in animalagriculture, whether on farms or in processing facilities, shares an ethicalresponsibility to protect the health and welfare of animals used for foodproduction."
The video, taped in May 2008 at the Portales Livestock Auction inPortales, N.M., was shot by an HSUS undercover employee working on behalf ofthe organization.
On June 24, 2008, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer met withrepresentatives of the animal agricultural industries and the HSUS.Dr. DeHaven applauded this meeting for its cooperative approach towardimproved vigilance in ensuring the welfare of animals used for foodproduction.
"In this situation, the AVMA's job is to work with all stakeholders tomake sure this kind of gross negligence and abuse does not happen again,"DeHaven said.
DeHaven cited the need for increased veterinary oversight throughout allstages of the food animal's lifecycle. "There's no doubt about it, there mustbe veterinarians -- to protect animal welfare and animal and public health --at every step on the road from farm to fork," DeHaven said, reiterating theAVMA's congressional advocacy to grow the number of food animal veterinarians.
Dr. Gail C. Golab, director of the AVMA's Animal Welfare Division,emphasized the organization's zero-tolerance approach toward animal cruelty."We have worked hard, and will continue to do so, to get our policies fullyintegrated throughout the industry," Golab said. "Those policies clearly statethat anyone who deals with animals has an obligation to stop -- and prevent --this type of cruelty."
The AVMA and its more than 76,000 member veterinarians are engaged in awide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art ofanimal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site athttp://www.avma.org for more information.
SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association