27 August 2002
Bruce Little, DVM
American Veterinary Medical Association
1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360
Dear Dr. Little:
On behalf of United Poultry Concerns I write to express my keen
disappointment in the AVMA's recent resolution to continue endorsing
the starvation of hens to protect the poultry and egg industry at the
expense of avian welfare. Based on the AVMA's continuing acceptance
of depriving hens of food and the AMVA Positions on Animal Welfare in
the 2002 AVMA Directory, it is clear that your association does not
uphold its oath "to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the
benefit of society through promotion of public health, protection of
animal health, and the relief of animal suffering."
The AVMA knows perfectly well that the practice of withholding food
from a bird for days and weeks is not comparable to the natural
seasonal cycles in which hens replace their feathers in the fall
after hatching and raising their chicks. You can take any natural
behavior pattern of any species, such as when people stay up all
night working on a project and forget to eat, and use that behavior
to justify depriving them of sleep and food saying, "It isn't cruel.
People often go for hours or days without sleeping or eating;
therefore, preventing people from eating and sleeping for a week or
two merely simulates natural human behavior."
In justifying forced molting you have chosen to ignore the pathologic
effects of this cruel practice on the birds: naturally molting birds
do not degenerate into debilitation and susceptibility to Salmonella
enteritidis. They do not, in the words of Dr. Ian Duncan, "suffer
enormously" as do force-molted hens, and their mortality does not
"increase dramatically" as does the mortality of force-molted hens. I
live with chickens, and I know that their behavior and condition when
molting naturally do not match your assertions.
It is said within your own profession that not until the present
generation of the AVMA retires will the veterinary profession be
represented by an association that genuinely promotes animal and
social well-being. This is a pathetic commentary on your role thus
far. You swore an oath to protect public health and to relieve animal
suffering and you have, in fact, done precisely the opposite. In a
recent issue of AVAR Directions, Dr. Peggy Larson writes that 'With
time, the veterinary profession will become an animal advocacy
profession with or without its professional organization."
This time cannot come fast enough. In the meantime United Poultry
Concerns will continue to inform our members and others of the AVMA's
betrayal of its oath "to relieve animal suffering" and of its actual
investment in maintaining and increasing animal suffering.
Thank you for your attention. I would appreciate a response from you
at your earliest convenience to share with our members.
Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the
compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more
information, visit http://www.UPC-online.org.
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.|
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(AVMA - Open Letter from UPC to The American Veterinary Medical Association)