Association of Avian Veterinarians: "Stop the Practice of Starving
Birds for Egg Production" and "Support the Leahy-Fitzgerald Amendment
to the 2002 Agriculture Appropriations Bill."
In its June-August, 2001 Newsletter, the Association of Avian
Veterinarians, an allied organization in the House of Delegates of
the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), urged its members
to "Stop the Practice of Starving Birds for Egg Production." This is
a major step forward in the decade-long effort by United Poultry
Concerns and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights to
get the AVMA to stop endorsing the forced molting of laying hens by
food deprivation. Finally, a constituent part of the AVMA is speaking
out for the birds. Change is in the air! Here is the lead article in
the Official Newsletter of the Association of Avian Veterinarians,
whose mission is "Advancing and Promoting Avian Medicine and
Stop the Practice of Starving Birds for Egg Production
[By] Susan Clubb, DVM, ABVP Avian, AAV Legislative Committee Chair
We need veterinarians, students, and technicians to contact their
U.S. Senators immediately to combat the forced molting of hens in egg
production by supporting the Leahy-Fitzgerald Amendment to S. 1191,
the FY 2002 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.
Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) will
introduce an amendment to S. 1191 to bar the USDA from spending tax
dollars to purchase eggs from producers that use forced molting for
the School Lunch Program.
Forced molting is the practice of starving hens in order to shock
their system into a new egg-laying cycle. Factory farmers routinely
starve hens for a period ranging from three to fourteen days, forcing
them into a new molt. Once placed back on feed, if they survive the
starvation period, the hens will produce bigger eggs [thereby
increasing the hens' susceptibility to uterine prolapse and other
injuries related to large-egg production-UPC editor's note].
Contact your two U.S. Senators and urge them to vote YES on the
Leahy-Fitzgerald amendment. You may with to make some of the
Forced molting is inhumane. Intentionally starving an animal is
cruel. Most anywhere in the nation an individual would be arrested
for starving a dog or a cat in the way egg producers commonly starve
hens. The birds lose up to 30% of their body weight during this
Forced molting is a threat to human health. Because the hens are
starved, and so stressed, they are highly susceptible to salmonella
infections. Eggs from hens that undergo forced molting are
significantly more likely to carry, shed or transmit Salmonella
enteritidis than hens who are allowed access to food and water.
Children are most susceptible to salmonella poisoning. It just makes
sense not to use eggs from producers that use forced molting in our
school lunch program.
Major fast food companies have recently stopped buying eggs from
farms that use forced molting. McDonald's and Burger King have both
announced that their egg producers are no longer allowed to force
molt by starving birds. The Food Safety [and] Inspection Service,
which is part of the USDA, also recommends "egg producers eliminate
forced molting practices and adopt alternatives that reduce public
This is our chance to have the USDA School Lunch program join large
fast food chains, such as McDonald's and Burger King, in saying 'NO'
to the use of starvation as a means of increasing egg production.
Please contact both of your U.S. Senators immediately and ask them to
SUPPORT the Leahy-Fitzgerald amendment to the Agriculture
Appropriations bill. You can reach both of your U.S. Senators'
offices through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Phone calls and faxes are the best means of reaching your senators on
this matter. Due to the fact that this may come to a vote within days
[in early September-UPC editor's note], letters may not arrive in
time for this vote. Please make phone calls and ask everyone you know
to make phone calls to their two U.S. Senators as well!
If you need assistance in identifying who your U.S. Senators are, or
to get their fax number, please call the Humane Society of the US at
[End AAV Article]