© The HSUS/Topinka
Veterinarians and veterinary groups should be in the forefront of the animal protection movement. But often times they have not occupied that leadership position. And much to my great disappointment, the leading veterinary organization in the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association, has often taken positions at odds with animal welfare and proved to be an impediment to social progress for animals. That group, which certainly does have many dedicated staff and members, has gotten off course on a range of subjects and taken stands that favor animal-use industries, not animals.
It is AVMA that is in the forefront of the effort to halt federal legislation to stop the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The AVMA has also taken a stand against legislation to crack down on Class B dealers, who collect random source dogs and cats and sell them to research. AVMA does not oppose the force-feeding of ducks or geese for foie gras production or the confinement of laying hens in restrictive cages and veal calves and breeding sows in crates so small the animals cannot turn around or extend their limbs. It opposes legislation to halt the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms for non-therapeutic uses. And we just learned last week that the AVMA supports the continued use by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of M-44 explosive devices for predator control (the devices explode and release poisonous sodium cyanide into the mouths of their victims, including unintended targets such as endangered species and pets).
We want to give a home to veterinarians who want to associate themselves with progressive leadership on animal protection issues. To that end, today I am announcing that The Humane Society of the United States and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, a group formed in 1981 to organize veterinarians to help animals through advocacy programs, are uniting. We are combining forces, and from that union there will be a newly constituted organization: the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA).
The new group—which will combine the veterinary assets of both organizations, and then infuse the new organization with additional resources—will do advocacy and hands-on programs to help animals. Over the next weeks and months, you’ll hear more about the operation we are building.
HSVMA will put the interests of animals at the forefront of its thinking. And we will work to recruit veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary students throughout the nation to join HSVMA. We hope you will talk to your private veterinarian and urge him or her to join HSVMA and add a strong veterinary voice to animal protection in the United States.
Veterinarians should be the best advocates animals have. HSVMA wants to help rank-and-file veterinarians achieve that noble goal.