Dr. Henry E. Childers, President
American Veterinary Medical Association
1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Dear Dr. Childers:
I am writing to you on behalf of United Poultry Concerns regarding the treatment of birds affected by the avian influenza epidemic. We are deeply disturbed by the extreme inhumanity and cruelty that is currently being enacted against birds to combat the avian influenza virus, and we would like to know what specific steps the AVMA is taking to foster less irrational and unethical approaches to controlling this virus.
Both the World Organization for Animal Health and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization have pointed out that the practice of mass extermination is ineffectual given that avian flu viruses are so widespread that birds will continue to be reinfected.
As one critical step, we call upon the AVMA to put pressure on the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) to stop the drowning, burning, suffocating and burying of live birds.
We call upon the AVMA to encourage the use of the inert gases nitrogen and argon instead of CO2 (which causes slow, painful suffocation) or electricity (a form of torture that includes muscular paralysis of fully conscious birds) in those mass extermination situations that appear to be unstoppable. We further call upon the AVMA to encourage governments around the world, including the US government, to develop strategies and environments that are much less favorable to the harmful spread and mutation of avian influenza viruses than is now the case.
Please advise us what steps, if any, the AVMA is taking to protect birds against the cruel and inhumane treatment to which they are currently being subjected. How is the AVMA using its influence in a positive, urgent way on behalf of the birds?
I look forward to your response. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Karen Davis, PhD