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Meghan Beeby, 607-583-2225 ext. 251, mbeeby@farmsanctuary.org
Tricia Ritterbusch, 607-583-2225 ext. 233, tritterbusch@farmsanctuary.org

American Veterinary Medical Association Asked to Prioritize:
WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT: ANIMAL WELFARE OR MONEY?

Watkins Glen, NY - May 3, 2006 - The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the voice of veterinarians across the United States, will answer a crucial question about the profession's priorities at their annual convention this summer. The AVMA will vote on a resolution addressing whether it cares more about the humane treatment of animals or about making money. The issue qualified for formal consideration when resolutions, signed by more than two hundred veterinarians, were sent to AVMA headquarters last week.

The resolution to make animal welfare an important priority is being proposed by Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection organization. The proposal asserts that "veterinarians have an ethical obligation to promote animal welfare"; acknowledges that "in some instances, the economic priorities of animal industries may be in conflict with the welfare of animals"; and resolves that the veterinary profession "will place a higher priority on animal welfare when required to choose between animal welfare and economic considerations."

Farm Sanctuary has asked the AVMA to adopt policies that discourage the use of cruel farming practices, including "gestation crates," barren two foot wide metal enclosures where breeding sows are confined for most of their lives, unable to walk, turn around or even lie down comfortably. Last year, Farm Sanctuary urged the AVMA to take a stand against the force feeding of ducks and geese to make "foie gras." The force feeding makes the birds' livers expand up to ten times their normal size, causing disease and making it difficult for the birds to walk or breathe comfortably. The AVMA refused to speak out against either of these inhumane practices.

According to Farm Sanctuary president, Gene Bauston, "The AVMA has traditionally been aligned with industrial agribusiness. It has defended the use of cruel factory farming practices to the detriment of animal welfare. This summer we are challenging the AVMA to re-evaluate these priorities."

Although the AVMA has adopted policies that support inhumane factory farming, most of its members oppose such practices. A nationwide survey of over 1000 veterinarians found that most veterinarians oppose industrialized farming practices that are supported by the AVMA.

Farm Sanctuary is the nation's leading farm animal protection organization. Since incorporating in 1986, we have worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the "food animal" industry through research and investigations, legal and legislative actions, public awareness projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts. Our shelters in Watkins Glen, NY and Orland, CA provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming. More information about Farm Sanctuary can be found at http://www.farmsanctuary.org or by calling 607-583-2225.

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