New cattle abuse video draws scorn from veterinary associations

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New cattle abuse video draws scorn from veterinary associations

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Apr 20, 2011
By dvm360.com staff
Schaumburg, Ill., -- An undercover video by an animal advocacy group showing abuse of calves on a Texas calf ranch drew the ire of leading veterinary associations including the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP).

In fact, AVMA's statement called the footage "barbaric." Leaders from AABP say the association "condemns willful acts of animal abuse such as those videotaped on the calf ranch in Hart, Texas."

The video, posted on You Tube, from animal rights group Mercy for Animals, shows calves beaten with pickaxes and hammers at E6 Cattle Co.

"Upon viewing deeply disturbing new footage showing calves being abused at a Texas cattle farm, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today strongly condemned the cruelty and issued a call for stricter adherence to humane animal handling standards."

"What is depicted in this video is totally inexcusable and way outside of existing standards for the humane care and handling of livestock," says Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA. "If this is an accurate portrayal of what took place at the farm, we would encourage regulatory authorities to impose the most severe penalties allowed by law."

AABP concurs. In a statement issued following the release of the video, the association says, "Humane care and handling of all animals is a key commitment made by the veterinary profession. Veterinarians have an ethical obligation to treat animals humanely. The images presented in this video are extremely disturbing and represent a total breakdown in the animal-care systems present at this calf ranch. The perpetrators of willful animal abuse should be prosecuted and procedures put in place to prevent future instances of abuse, if this farm is to be allowed to continue to raise animals. Animals deserve timely and effective treatment for diseases and conditions," the association adds.

Dr. Gail Golab, director of the AVMA's Animal Welfare Division, emphasized the association's zero-tolerance approach toward animal cruelty.

"Those handling animals are obligated to do so properly," Dr. Golab says. "The AVMA and its members have worked diligently to get good animal-care practices implemented and will continue to do so. In particular, the AVMA has clear guidance for conducting euthanasia. Unfortunately, that guidance is only as good as the facility's commitment to implement it—we've taken our responsibility seriously and we expect them to do the same."

The AVMA urges law enforcement authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.