United Poultry Concerns
Promoting the compassionate and respectful
treatment of domestic fowl

PO Box 150 • Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(757) 678-7875 • FAX (757) 678-5070

Bird Veterinarians Speak Out Against Forced Molting
A Major Breakthrough!

Association of Avian Veterinarians: "Stop the Practice of Starving Birds for Egg Production" and "Support the Leahy-Fitzgerald Amendment to the 2002 Agriculture Appropriations Bill."

In its June-August, 2001 Newsletter, the Association of Avian Veterinarians, an allied organization in the House of Delegates of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), urged its members to "Stop the Practice of Starving Birds for Egg Production." This is a major step forward in the decade-long effort by United Poultry Concerns and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights to get the AVMA to stop endorsing the forced molting of laying hens by food deprivation. Finally, a constituent part of the AVMA is speaking out for the birds. Change is in the air! Here is the lead article in the Official Newsletter of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, whose mission is "Advancing and Promoting Avian Medicine and Stewardship."

Stop the Practice of Starving Birds for Egg Production

[By] Susan Clubb, DVM, ABVP Avian, AAV Legislative Committee Chair

We need veterinarians, students, and technicians to contact their U.S. Senators immediately to combat the forced molting of hens in egg production by supporting the Leahy-Fitzgerald Amendment to S. 1191, the FY 2002 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.

Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) will introduce an amendment to S. 1191 to bar the USDA from spending tax dollars to purchase eggs from producers that use forced molting for the School Lunch Program.

Forced molting is the practice of starving hens in order to shock their system into a new egg-laying cycle. Factory farmers routinely starve hens for a period ranging from three to fourteen days, forcing them into a new molt. Once placed back on feed, if they survive the starvation period, the hens will produce bigger eggs [thereby increasing the hens' susceptibility to uterine prolapse and other injuries related to large-egg production-UPC editor's note].

Contact your two U.S. Senators and urge them to vote YES on the Leahy-Fitzgerald amendment. You may with to make some of the following arguments.

Forced molting is inhumane. Intentionally starving an animal is cruel. Most anywhere in the nation an individual would be arrested for starving a dog or a cat in the way egg producers commonly starve hens. The birds lose up to 30% of their body weight during this starvation period.

Forced molting is a threat to human health. Because the hens are starved, and so stressed, they are highly susceptible to salmonella infections. Eggs from hens that undergo forced molting are significantly more likely to carry, shed or transmit Salmonella enteritidis than hens who are allowed access to food and water. Children are most susceptible to salmonella poisoning. It just makes sense not to use eggs from producers that use forced molting in our school lunch program.

Major fast food companies have recently stopped buying eggs from farms that use forced molting. McDonald's and Burger King have both announced that their egg producers are no longer allowed to force molt by starving birds. The Food Safety [and] Inspection Service, which is part of the USDA, also recommends "egg producers eliminate forced molting practices and adopt alternatives that reduce public health risks."

This is our chance to have the USDA School Lunch program join large fast food chains, such as McDonald's and Burger King, in saying 'NO' to the use of starvation as a means of increasing egg production.

Please contact both of your U.S. Senators immediately and ask them to SUPPORT the Leahy-Fitzgerald amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill. You can reach both of your U.S. Senators' offices through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Phone calls and faxes are the best means of reaching your senators on this matter. Due to the fact that this may come to a vote within days [in early September-UPC editor's note], letters may not arrive in time for this vote. Please make phone calls and ask everyone you know to make phone calls to their two U.S. Senators as well!

If you need assistance in identifying who your U.S. Senators are, or to get their fax number, please call the Humane Society of the US at 202-955-3666.

[End AAV Article]

For more information on forced molting, including our 1998 report/petition to the FDA to ban forced molting, visit www.upc-online.org/molting/, or call 757-678-7875, or write to UPC, PO Box 150, Machipongo, VA 23405.

United Poultry Concerns is a national nonprofit public information animal advocacy organization promoting the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information, visit our web site at www.UPC-online.org

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