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Video showing abuse of cows prompts AVMA response

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Jun 29, 2008
By dvm360.com staff
Schaumburg, Ill. - The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is calling for stricter adherence to humane animal handling guidelines and standards after a new video, taped by an undercover Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) employee, shows abuse to cows at a New Mexico livestock auction.

In a statement released on its Web site, the AVMA labeled the abuse, which included cows being repeatedly shocked with electric prods and dragged by chains while alive, as "inhumane" and "unacceptable."

"The food animal production system failed these animals," says Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA. "Everyone involved in animal agriculture, whether on farms or in processing facilities, shares an ethical responsibility to protect the health and welfare of animals used for food production."

The video was taped in May at the Portales Livestock Auction in Portales, N.M. Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer met with representatives of the animal agricultural industries and the HSUS to discuss the matter.

DeHaven cites the need for increased veterinary oversight throughout all stages of the food animal's lifecycle.

"There's no doubt about it, there must be veterinarians -- to protect animal welfare and animal and public health -- at every step on the road from farm to fork," DeHaven says.