American Veterinary Medical Association issues statement against Missouri’s Prop B

Great strides have been made over time in veterinary medicine and the American Veterinary Medical Association has certainly been a part of this advancement. But what I read as a statement from the AVMA in a recent DVM Magazine article is cause for concern.

Missouri’s Prop B simply sets minimum standards of care, a maximum on the number of breeding dogs allowed per kennel and it allows for time outside for the dogs and larger cage sizes and a ban on stacking cages. Anyone can attempt to inject “stuff” that isn’t in the bill or apply the dreaded slippery slope. But the fact remains that the ballot measure simply sets these minimum standards.

Argue if you will about a 50-dog limit, but the health-related standards are fair. I wish the standards were higher.

With this in mind, let’s look at an excerpt noted in the DVM Magazine article, titled “Rally against Prop B.” –

“” “”

“Unfortunately, Proposition B doesn’t do much to actually provide for the care of animals, but only sets limits on the number of animals that can be kept. And there is no research to show that limit laws, like Proposition B, actually do anything to improve the welfare of the animal,” says Dr. Ron Dehaven, chief executive officer of AVMA. “To help state and local governments design effective regulations, the AVMA has drafted model legislation that, if enacted, would actually improve the welfare of dogs at breeding facilities, animal shelters, retail pet stores and other types of operations.”

“” “”

From the first sentence – ” … but only sets limits on the number of animals that can be kept.” How can any reasonable, education person make a statement like this? Some breeding groups who oppose Prop B will be taking exception to this statement. It only limits the number? If this is true, why are people opposing the measure saying the cage size standards are all wrong and they don’t like the regulation on vet care and the ban on stacking cages?

It’s clear the measure does more than set “limits on the number of animals that can be kept.” Maybe Dehaven didn’t mean that like it sounds.

This is the AVMA, a respected organization that oversees and basically guides the standards of veterinary care of companion animals. Why is the chief executive officer of AVMA making a statement like this. It might come from the mouth of someone from the AKC or the “Alliance for Truth” – but not from a educated office-holder from the AVMA.

And of course, the article doesn’t offer any examples of what the AVMA is proposing as new legislation. I wish it did.

And then we have this –

“” Several lawmakers currently serving in the legislature, as well as those recently elected, have spoken out about repealing the law based on the fact that is will force legitimate operations out of business without regulating the ones causing the problem. “”

Prop B will regulate ALL breeding operations with the minimum number of breeding dogs set in the measure. Again, the statement above is a stretch from people who don’t have a legitimate points of argument to make. It’s like saying restaurant grades only work on restaurants that have a business license. What would happen when the inspector showed up a restaurant operating without a license?

And legitimate operations offer higher standards of care – in allowing their dogs time outside and regular vet care – and they don’t stack cages.

Why can’t the other side argue within the realm of reality? – Because they’ve got nothing but that which is pulled from their hither regions.

And when I read statements like the pair I’ve noted above, I wonder if the reporter knew enough to ask follow-up questions – such as ‘did you know Prop B includes more than just limits on numbers?’ or ‘Did you know unlicensed breeders who are not meeting the guidelines under Prop B will be subject to the regulations in new law?’

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5 responses to this post.

  1. The AVMA “model bill” can be found at:

    http://www.avma.org/advocacy/state/issues/Care_for_Dogs_Model_Act_and_Regs_Backgrounder.pdf

    and

    http://www.avma.org/advocacy/state/issues/Care_for_Dogs_Model_Act_and_Regulations.pdf

    Both are PDFs. They seem to be undergoing some presentational changes, and other modifications.

    I’ve read the model bill. It looks good on paper, but the problem is there’s no substance. For example in the section labeled Behavior there’s the following requirement:

    “Human socialization – Dogs shall be provided with daily positive human contact and socialization.
    Contact during feeding time alone is not sufficient to meet this requirement. ”

    It sounds good, so what could be the problem with it?

    The problem is there’s no way for an inspector to ensure it, as a provision is met. The AVMA reps talk about procedure versus engineering standards, but procedural standards can’t be enforced. For one, do they seriously expect commercial dog breeders with 400+ dogs to actually meet this requirement? Of course, they barely manage to feed the dogs (if that).

    So the AVMA requirements sound great on paper, but basically give the large scale breeders a pass when it comes to regulations, other than those very similar to what we have with the USDA regulations. And we know how these are not sufficient.

    I’m incredibly disappointed in the veterinarian associations. They have lost their focus on the animals in preference to supporting to the animal owners. It’s bad enough to have to fight the agricultural community to get decent standards for dogs, much less some vet groups.

    There’s a video, too, and you can see from some of the comments that I and the AVMA don’t agree on what is a valid regulation.

    Sad.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tom Grady on November 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm

      Shelley,

      Thank you for the AVMA links and the video link. I will review as soon as possible.
      I too am disappointed with the association with this stand.

      I’d like to ask a representative of the AVMA if they would ever suggest to people that they house their dogs in small cages 24/7 or even 22/7 and if they would suggest they rarely take their dogs to the vet and never allow them time outside.

      If the AVMA would not suggest these things for pets living with families, then why are they oppose to these standards of care for breeding dogs. The difference – profits.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Terry Ward on November 18, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Thank you for this article Tom..
    Shelley is a much nicer and more balanced person than I.

    What I think about these folks cannot be printed.
    They have NEVER supported any attempt to pass anti-mill legislation going back many years.
    In fact they have shot them all down.

    They only put their big guns/big money/slick videos up when they want to kill the bill..so to speak.

    Plus, this so called vet in the video, DeHaven, the AVMA’s Chosen One, is a livestock vet…duh..

    They will tell you all the good things they have done, and they have, but good works do not excuse bad behavior.
    This is nothing more than a bottom line issue.. period.
    More dogs=more money.
    Less dogs= less money.

    There is no fighting them, by the way.
    The only hope for changing anything will be public ridicule.
    At least the world is now aware of these Neanderthals.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Tom Grady on November 18, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I’ve been called to the carpet a time or two in the past in challenging the AVMA stand on a couple of issues.
    When I wrote about the insanity of the organization’s support of the use of captive bolts to the head to kill horses, a representative wrote in to challenge me. The AVMA seems to consider this an accepted means to humanely kill a horse – when clearly it is not humane.

    It seems the AVMA is way behind the curve on understanding self-awareness and state of consciousness and cognition in animals. And it’s sad to think people within the organization don’t understand these concepts.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Terry Ward on November 18, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    They are a business after all..
    When there is an animal welfare issue which conflicts with a business decision. they will inevitably chose the latter.
    Why should I be surprised……….

    Reply

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