Spring 2003 Poultry Press << Previous - Next >>

AVMA's Forced Molting Position Still Unacceptable

See AVAR Directions, Winter 2003, the quarterly newsletter of the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights. http://AVAR.org

The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR) will approach the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) for the 5th time asking it to change its position statement on forced molting in "laying" hens. The U.S. egg industry force molts hens by depriving them of food for 4 to 21 days to manipulate egg prices and to pump a few hundred more eggs out of exhausted hens when it is deemed cheaper to "recycle" them rather than immediately destroy them after a year of relentless egg-laying on a calcium-deficient diet. A revised AVMA position statement was accepted last year in accordance with a resolution submitted by the American Association of Avian Pathologists and the Association of Avian Veterinarians. Although the AVMA's new position statement condemns total food withdrawal, it still finds "intermittent" feeding acceptable.

However, according to poultry specialist Dr. Ian Duncan of the University of Guelph in Ontario, "'Intermittent' feeding, referred to in the position statement, is not used [by the egg industry] to induce molt and, in any case, is wide open to abuse since the deprivation period could vary from hours to weeks."

Duncan states, "The evidence that forced molting reduces well-being is overwhelming. Mortality doubles in the first week of food deprivation, doubles again in the second week, and the behavioral evidence suggests that hens suffer enormously."

UPC has urged the AVMA to oppose forced molting since 1993. This year we're part of a coalition that's asking the AVMA to oppose forced molting, and we're holding an exhibit booth at the AVMA's Annual Convention in Denver, July 19 - 22. To learn more about forced molting, visit www.UPC-online.org or send a SASE for our fact sheet "Starving Hens For Profit Has Got To Stop."

  • If you are a veterinarian or can persuade your veterinarian to ask the AVMA to oppose the forced molting of commercial laying hens, contact:
    Bruce Little, DVM, Executive Vice President, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Rd, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360. Ph: 847-925-8070. Fax: 847-925-1329


Spring 2003 Poultry Press << Previous - Next >>