CVMA departs from AVMA on forced molting

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SAN FRANCISCO-California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) delegates have been charged with sending a message to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): oppose the forced molting of layer hens.

SAN FRANCISCO—California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) delegates have been charged with sending a message to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): oppose the forced molting of layer hens.

At presstime, Delegate George Bishop, DVM, had yet to attend the AVMA House of Delegates meeting July 23-24 in Philadelphia. But a vote in June by CVMA representatives during the association's annual meeting in San Francisco charged him with approving higher welfare standards for layer hens by favoring the adoption of Resolution 2, which seeks to end food deprivation to induce forced molting, calling it unnecessary and inhumane.

It's the sixth time the issue has gone before AVMA delegates, and traditionally, CVMA has supported the practice. But now, the nation's largest state association thinks differently, Bishop says.

"Just this year, CVMA has come forward with a new set of welfare guidelines," he says. "If they are approved, forced molting will be out of the question. We feel withholding food and water is something that's not appropriate. That's why we're pushing for change at the national level at this time."

Proposed new thinking

The guidelines, preliminary and in draft form, call for respect of animals and oppose some longstanding production practices currently employed in the United States. While not meant for public review at presstime, CVMA officials plan this fall to release a draft version for professional comment and invite remarks from AVMA.

"I honestly feel that times are changing," says Dr. Dick Schumacher, former CVMA executive director. "While I don't expect the AVMA resolution will pass, I think it will get closer. The animal welfare view of forced molting is pretty obvious. You shouldn't be starving chickens for commercial reasons."

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