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"
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
Bruce Little, DVM, Executive Vice President, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham
Rd, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360. Ph: 847-925-8070.