The AVMA has adopted a joint statement on horse slaughter with the Canadian and Mexican veterinary associations and a joint statement on rabies in dogs with the Canadian VMA and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe.
The organizations approved the statements at various meetings in late 2014.
Currently, there is no horse slaughter in the United States, but U.S. horses are transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. The joint position by the U.S., Canadian, and Mexican veterinary associations focuses on humane handling and transportation of horses and recognizes that transporting horses destined for slaughter over long distances can negatively impact their health and welfare.
The position states: “Consumption of horsemeat by humans is a cultural and personal choice; the veterinarian’s primary focus is on the health and welfare of the horse throughout its life. That said, our veterinary associations believe the humane slaughter of horses is preferable to a life in discomfort and pain, inadequate care, or abandonment.”
The position concludes: “Horses destined for slaughter should be handled and transported to the processing facility in a humane manner. Use of local slaughter facilities is preferred to avoid welfare risks (e.g., physical and mental stress, injury) associated with long-distance travel. Horses should be humanely slaughtered consistent with the requirements of the country in which the horses are being processed.”
According to the joint position on the global control of rabies in dogs, “The AVMA, CVMA, and FVE recognize that canine rabies presents a serious public health risk worldwide.” Also according to the position, “The veterinary profession is uniquely poised to play a leading role in controlling and eradicating canine rabies.”
The AVMA, CVMA, and FVE believe that programs to eradicate canine rabies in a humane manner must include public education, mandatory vaccination of dogs, regulation of the movement of dogs, resources to enforce regulations, and control of free-roaming dog populations. The position concludes, “The AVMA, CVMA and FVE firmly believe that canine rabies can be controlled and eliminated through collaboration among animal and public health workers, legislators, and governing bodies of existing and new control programs, with support from governmental and non-governmental organizations alike.”
The joint statements are at www.avma.org/policy.