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

28 June 2004

Karen Davis (00)1-757-678-7875

AVMA Responds Falsely to New York Times Ad

“No one identifying themselves as an investigator from the AVMA has been in touch with me or Lt. Gagliardo regarding this case.” – John Carlson, Regional Director, County of San Diego Department of Animal Services
(Confirmed by United Poultry Concerns January 27 & June 28, 2004)

On June 21 The New York Times ran a full-page ad on A17 sponsored by Animal Rights International, PETA, United Poultry Concerns, and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights. Titled “Has anyone betrayed more animals than the American Veterinary Medical Association?” the ad cites the AVMA's defense of barren metal cages for pregnant sows, veal crates for calves, forced molting of hens for up to 14 days without food, and the retention of Dr. Gregg Cutler on its Animal Welfare Committee despite irrefutable evidence that Cutler authorized throwing thousands of live chickens into woodchipping machinery in San Diego County, CA in February 2003.

Even though United Egg Producers is urging its members to “change their molting practices to the non-feed withdrawal method [of forced molting] as quickly as possible,” the AVMA “sees molt induction as a necessary practice to reduce the number of hens required to meet the nation's demand for eggs” and “advocates for research into alternatives to feed withdrawal to induce molts.”

Gregg Cutler, who supports the forced molting of hens by starving them, was part of a team of California veterinarians and poultry producers who developed a document that includes written instructions on how to dispose of “spent hens” by throwing them alive into woodchippers.

On February 20, 2003, Cutler told San Diego County Animal Services Lt. Mary Kay Gagliardo that he “authorized the use of the wood chipper to depopulate the spent hens on the [Ward] egg ranches” and that throwing them alive into a wood chipper was ‘quick” and “painless.” He told the Los Angeles Times (11/22/03) that feeding chickens into a wood chipper “seemed like it was instantaneous and there was no suffering.” He told DVM Magazine (1/04): “My only regret is speaking as a scientist to county representatives and consumer media who misconstrued my openmindedness for new alternatives to euthanasia during a crisis.”

In the press release, the AVMA, though claiming it doesn't support the use of wood chippers to kill “spent” hens, states: “The California Veterinary Medical Board and the AVMA's Judicial Council investigated the allegations against the AVMA member [Cutler] referenced in the ad. After reviewing several letters of complaint, copies of investigative reports from the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services and the USDA, a response from the veterinarian [Cutler] and supporting documentation, notes from an industry conference call, and statements from other individuals involved in that conference call, both bodies concluded there was insufficient evidence to support these allegations.”

This entire whitewash merely confirms and adds to our New York Times advertisement claim that the AVMA is BEHOLDEN TO INDUSTRY, NOT MEDICINE, NOT ANIMALS, NOT ANIMAL WELL-BEING.

To view The New York Times Ad, “Has anyone betrayed more animals than the American Veterinary Medical Association,” June 21, 2004:

To View the AVMA press release, “Animal Welfare as a Priority,” June 23, 2004:

To learn more about the AVMA and the wood-chipper incident including media coverage: http://www/upc-online.org/avma/

What Can I Do?

You may write to the New York Times at letters@nytimes.com

You may contact the AVMA by writing to
Jack O. Walther, DVM, President

You may contact Bonnie Beaver, DVM, President Elect

Susan M. Geranen, Executive Officer
CA Veterinary Medical Board