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AVMA Issues Statement on Proposition 2


August 27, 2008
By Californians for Safe Food

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August 27, 2008- The largest and most respected veterinary association in the United
States is cautioning that the California ballot initiative, Proposition
2, while admirable in its attempt to address the behavioral needs of
animals, contains livestock confinement standards that may hurt the
animals they are intended to help.

The following is the statement released by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) on August 26 concerning California's Proposition 2 "Standards for Confining Farm Animals":

The American Veterinary Medical Association believes Proposition 2 , “Standards for Confining Farm Animals,” is admirable in its goal to improve the welfare of production farm animals; however, it ignores critical aspects of animal welfare that ultimately would threaten the well-being of the very animals it strives to protect. The best housing environments take into consideration all relevant factors, including: freedom of movement; expression of normal behaviors; protection from disease, injury, and predators; adequate food and water; and proper handling.

Proposition 2 would clearly provide greater freedom of movement, but would likely compromise several of the other factors necessary to ensure the overall welfare of the animals, especially with regard to protection from disease and injury. AVMA is the premier professional organization representing veterinarians in the United States. As such, we are not only a key medical authority on animal health and welfare, but just as importantly, we truly care about the animals we serve every day. It is in that mindset that we strive for continued improvement of animal housing systems through comprehensive, science-based evaluations with the expert input from veterinarians and animal welfare scientists.

We are concerned that legislating isolated, arbitrary and emotion-based criteria to implement farm animal housing systems may actually do more harm than good for the well-being of animals while compromising the sustainability of production systems that are essential to ensure we continue to have the safest, most affordable, and abundant food supply in the world.