America's Leading Vets call on AVMA to Stand Down on Horse Slaughter|
For Immediate Release:
Washington, DC (October 9, 2007) - Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, a group opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption, today called on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to end its opposition to the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, a bill that will prohibit the domestic slaughter of horses for human consumption as well as their export for slaughter elsewhere.
"It is intolerable that our professional association continues to support horse slaughter. The abject cruelty that our horses are being exposed to in Mexican slaughterhouses is beyond imagination and anyone concerned for the welfare of our horses ought to be doing everything he or she can to support quick passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act," said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a renowned veterinary behavioralist.
Dodman's comments come on the heels of recent investigations documenting the brutal slaughter of American horses at Mexican slaughterhouses. The horses are being shipped to Mexico in increasing numbers following recent closure of the three remaining US horse slaughterhouses under state law. Reports of horses being repeatedly stabbed in the spinal cord with a "puntilla" knife by Mexican slaughterhouses workers until they are paralyzed and then hung, drawn and quartered have outraged Dodman and his colleagues, as well as Members of Congress and the general public.
"It appears that the AVMA would rather support those profiting from this cruel industry than work effectively with the welfare community to protect horses. While they profess concern for the welfare of horses their action in this regard falls far short of the mark," stated Dr. Nena Winand, a leading equine veterinarian and geneticist. "The AVMA has recently been quoted as saying that banning horse slaughter in the US has led to an increase in animal suffering because of the terrible conditions awaiting horses on their trip to Mexico, yet they and the merchants buying and shipping horses to Mexico for slaughter continue to lobby Congress against passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act."
Dr. Dodman, a founding member of Veterinarians for Equine Welfare recently attended a national equine rescue conference hosted by the Animal Welfare Institute and Humane Society of the United States in Washington, DC to discuss ways to engender and further professionalize the growing horse rescue/sanctuary community. The conference brought together organizations from across the US dedicated to ending horse slaughter and ensuring equine welfare. Initial goals from the meeting include development of a comprehensive resource website and an accreditation program for equine rescue facilities based on the 2004 sanctuary/rescue guidelines created by AWI and the Doris Day Animal League.
"It is time for the AVMA and other pro-horse slaughter groups to stop stonewalling and join with the majority of veterinarians, Americans, horse owners, welfare organizations and equine rescues in supporting passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. It is not too late to come clean and make a difference for the horses. If the AVMA truly cares about the welfare of these horses they have the power to make their suffering stop immediately," said Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director for the Animal Welfare Institute. "I commend Veterinarians for Equine Welfare for truly speaking on behalf of vets across the country."
While state laws in Illinois and Texas have put a recent stop to the domestic slaughter of horses for human consumption, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 311/H.R. 503), will prohibit their export for slaughter in Mexico, Canada and further abroad. The bill enjoys broad bi-partisan support with 31 cosponsors in the United States Senate and 186 cosponsors in the United States House of Representatives to date.
Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW) was created by a group of veterinarians from all disciplines who are concerned about misinformation being transmitted to the public regarding the national debate on horse slaughter. For more information please visit: http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org/