Urge the American Veterinary Medical Association To Oppose Torturous Depopulation Methods

‘They’re cooking them alive’:
calls to ban ‘cruel’ killing methods on US farms

Use of heat, steam and suffocating foam to slaughter sick animals is condemned as bird flu epidemic threatens poultry stocks. – The Guardian, March 5, 2022

Here is an excerpt from The Guardian article, which can be read online:

“Vets and animal advocates in the US are calling for restriction on cruel methods of culling birds, as farmers face killing millions of poultry due to a highly virulent avian flu tearing through the country.

“In 2020, millions of birds were killed across the US after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down slaughterhouses and left animals stranded on farms. Now, bird flu, which has already led to the slaughter of millions of birds in Europe, is likely to result in another mass depopulation. . . .

“However, two commonly used methods to cull animals on-farm are attracting increasing backlash. The use of firefighting foam to suffocate animals and ventilation shutdown, in which animals are killed with extremely high heat and steam, are still permitted in the US, despite being effectively banned in the EU and labeled ‘inhumane.’

“Poultry flocks sickened with avian flu are commonly killed with carbon dioxide poisoning or firefighting foam, where birds are smothered with a blanket of foam.

“The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says the method involves ‘drowning in fluids or suffocation by occlusion of the airways’ and is ‘not accepted as a humane method for killing animals.’. . .

“Last year, a group of AVMA [American Veterinary Medical Association] members submitted a resolution to classify ventilation shutdown as ‘not recommended.’ A decision on the resolution has not been made, but animal welfare experts say it is time for US-wide rules to govern the treatment of farm animals before slaughter.”

Thousands of chicks on a dirt floor
Photo: Delaware Public Media.

What Can I Do?

Under public scrutiny and criticism, an AVMA panel is giving “further consideration” to the AVMA’s consent to the practices of smothering chickens, turkeys and ducks to death with firefighting foam and subjecting them, along with factory-farmed pigs, to “ventilation shutdown,” a method that “ incorporates components such as heat, humidity, and carbon dioxide, in addition to shutting down the ventilation system, to cause the death of pigs or poultry.” As the panel reconsiders its official stance, please urge the AVMA to adopt a “not recommended” standard of opposition to these brutally inhumane practices in its “AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals.”

CONTACT

Dr. Janet Donlin
American Veterinary Medical Association
1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360
Phone: 800-248-2862 Fax: 847-925-1329
Web: www.avma.org/about/contact
Dr. Cia Johnson, Panel on Depopulation
& Director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division
American Veterinary Medical Association
1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360
Phone: 800-248-2862 Fax: 847-925-1329
Web: www.avma.org/about/contact