September 01, 2002


 Resolution on pregnant sow housing OK'd

Posted Aug. 15, 2002

AASV delegate, Dr. David Madsen
AASV delegate, Dr. David Madsen speaks in support of Resolution 3.

In a strong voice vote, the House of Delegates approved a resolution strengthening AVMA support for the use of sow housing configurations that meet certain minimum standards for animal care and welfare. Resolution 3 was submitted by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. The resolution, now the new AVMA position, states:

The American Veterinary Medical Association supports the use of sow housing configurations that: (1) minimize aggression and competition between sows; (2) protect sows from detrimental effects associated with environmental extremes, particularly temperature extremes; (3) reduce exposure to hazards that result in injuries; (4) provide every animal with daily access to appropriate food and water; and (5) facilitate observation of individual sow appetite, respiratory rate, urination and defecation, and reproductive status by caretakers.

Current scientific literature indicates that individual gestation stalls meet each of the aforementioned criteria, provided the appropriate level of stockmanship is administered.

The resolution was a response to animal rights groups' objections to use of gestation stalls. The AASV felt that the existing AVMA position did not adequately address the importance of good management or emphasize the scientific research to back use of gestation stalls.

Massachusetts delegate, Dr. Peter Theran commended the AASV for bringing up the issue and setting forth criteria, but said it was premature to approve a position on swine configuration. "The standards are the most elemental that could be listed. If we accept the standards, we'll come into deserved criticism as an organization that doesn't place much value on animal welfare." AASV delegate, Dr. David Madsen countered, "The current position doesn't list even basic requirements. ... [Resolution 3] may seem elemental, but I'm personally embarrassed at the current language, and this [resolution] would move it one notch up."