May 01, 2003


 AAEP issues genetic defects statement

Posted April 15, 2003

The AAEP recently issued a statement supporting the intent of the AVMA's policy on the surgical correction of genetic defects, and clarifying the AAEP position on correcting congenital defects and inherited tendencies.

In April 2002, the AVMA reinstated its position on performing surgery to repair genetic defects, especially in animals intended for show and breeding. The position, which is included in the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, states:

Performance of surgical or other procedures in all species for the purpose of concealing genetic defects in animals to be shown, raced, bred, or sold, as breeding animals is unethical. However, should the health or welfare of the individual patient require correction of such genetic defects, it is recommended that the patient be rendered incapable of reproduction.

In a statement, March 3, 2003, the AAEP asserted that it agrees with the intent of the AVMA position; however, it clarified its position on surgically correcting congenital defects and inherited tendencies. It states in part:

The AAEP supports surgical correction of diseases that are in the best interest of individual horses. Surgical correction of inherited defects in the horse is currently not practical for the known genetic defects. So, while the AAEP supports the intent of the AVMA statement, it should be applied to genetic defects and not misapplied to congenital defects or inherited tendencies.