Disabled livestock position statement amended

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The AVMA position statement on disabled livestock has been amended to address nonambulatory swine at terminal markets.

The Executive Board approved the amendment, recommended by the Animal Welfare Committee. The Animal Agriculture Liaison and Legislative Advisory committees had asked the welfare committee to review the existing AVMA statement.

The heavy muscularity of swine makes them susceptible to splay and slipping. These animals are often unable to rise immediately afterward without rest. Stress can also be a factor in swine becoming nonambulatory.

In both cases, swine unable to walk often recover with sufficient rest and cooling, and can safely enter the food supply chain.

The approved addition to the position statement reads:

If swine are down, and are not in extreme distress or do not have an obviously irreversible condition, they may be allowed up to 2 hours to recover. Acceptable interventions to assist in this recovery include rest, cooling, or other treatments that do not create drug residue concerns.

The Animal Welfare Committee thought the statement should explicitly indicate that nonambulatory animals should never be dragged, so the board also approved the following statement: At no time is a nonambulatory animal to be dragged.