Anti-Slaughter Vets Call on AVMA to Reverse Political Stance on Horse Slaughter

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Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, a group opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption, recently called on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to end its opposition to the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, a federal Congressional bill that seeks to 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 Nicholas Dodman BVMS, MRCVS, ACVA, ACVB.

Dodman is professor of behavioral pharmacology and director of the Behavior Clinic of Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts. He is an internationally known specialist in domestic animal behavioral research, as well as in the veterinary practice of animal psychology. A board-certified member of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, he holds four patents for the pharmacological control of behavior problems, in which field he is a well-known expert.

Dodman's comments come on the heels of recent investigations documenting the brutal slaughter of American horses at Mexican slaughterhouses. It portrayed horses being shipped to Mexico following recent closure of the three remaining US horse slaughterhouses under state law. Reports of horses 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.

"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," stated Nena Winand, PhD, DVM and senior research associate in the department of Molecular Medicine at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

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