United Poultry Concerns June 27, 2002
Please Urge AVMA to Change Position on Forced Molting

Your letter or e-mail is needed today to help convince the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) that its current position statement on induced or forced molting needs to be changed to reflect the birds' interests first, not the poultry industry's financial incentives.

On Friday, July 12, the Committee on Public Matters, an American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates Reference Committee, will decide on two resolutions which request the AVMA to change its position statement on induced or forced molting.

Resolution 6, submitted by the American Association of Avian Pathologists and Association of Avian Veterinarians, is similar to the current position statement, which endorses the cruel practice of food withdrawal. It states, "Molting is a natural seasonal event in which birds substantially reduce their feed intake, cease egg production, and replace their plumage. Induced molting is a process that simulates the natural molting events. Induced molting extends the productive life of commercial chicken flocks, improves long-term flock health and performance, and results in substantial reduction in the number of chickens needed to produce the nation's egg supply. When birds return to full feed, a new plumage develops and the birds resume egg production at a higher rate with better egg quality. Induced molting also has a positive impact on the environment through reduction of waste and natural resources needed for growing more birds for egg production.

The commercial induced molting procedure is carefully monitored and controlled. Acceptable practices include reduction of photoperiod "day length" and dietary restrictions that result in cessation of egg production, but water should not be withdrawn. Intermittent feeding or diets of low nutrient density are recommended rather than total feed withdrawal. Special attention should be paid to flock health, mortality, and bird weight. Egg quality and safety should be monitored through an egg quality assurance program. The welfare of the birds should be a major consideration in this and any management practice.

The AVMA encourages ongoing research into the effect of various methods of induced molting on the performance and well being of laying chickens."

Resolution 7, submitted by the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR) seeks to protect the birds rather than the poultry industry. This is the fourth attempt by the AVAR to get the AVMA to change its animal welfare position statement on forced molting to reflect the best interests of the birds. AVAR's suggested position statement reads, "Resolved that the AVMA recommends that all hens used in commercial egg production receive fresh water and nutritionally-adequate food on a daily basis, unless a brief period of food withdrawal is required for therapeutic purposes. It opposes induced or forced molting, the process designed to bring an entire flock of hens into a non-laying and oviduct rejuvenation period at the same time, when it involves the withholding of water or food or employs some other means of causing a molt which results in malnutrition or other ill health or when it compromises well-being."

Write a letter or e-mail by July 9 to:

Bret D. Marsh, Chair
Committee on Public Matters, Board of Animal Health
805 Beachway Drive, Suite 50
Indianapolis, IN 46224
or e-mail at:

Tell him that veterinarians should not promote food withdrawal in animals when it does not benefit them. Also, remind him that forced molting is not similar to natural molting, which occurs over many months and does not cause birds to become ill or die. Forced molting is done to benefit the poultry industry economically and has no benefits for the birds. It also is associated with the increased production of Salmonella enteritidis, which causes serious illness in people who eat contaminated eggs. Support Resolution 7.

United Poultry Concerns. June 27, 2002

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
FAX: 757-678-5070

(Action Alert - Please Urge AVMA to Change Position on Forced Molting)

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