Vets Recognize Animal ‘Welfare’ in Oath

An article in the Daily Yonder,  caught my attention when it stated, “Veterinarians now must take an oath that they will attempt to prevent “animal suffering”.”

In the article, found here, it talks about the rising battle between the nation’s agriculture sector and animal rights activists, and how common livestock production practices — in particular, large confined animal farms — are coming under more public scrutiny.

Thus, in January, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) published an article that announced a change in the language of the Veterinarian’s Oath to emphasize a commitment not just to animal health but to animal welfare. This would include the “prevention of animal suffering.”

The author then goes to pull in all of the legislation and issues that HSUS has arose in recent years to put certain animal production practices out of use. I think she went a little overboard. First of all, I think that vets getting ready to go into practice after years of school truly want to prevent animal suffering – this does include cats, dogs, snakes, parakeets – not just farm animals, which are brought into the limelight. I don’t know a vet that wants their patients to suffer.

So the addition of the wording does not need to make people think that the AVMA are going to change all of their policies on farm animal production practices.

Since it brings up HSUS a lot in the article, I do find it funny that the article says: “Confinement practices, in particular, have become the target of the HSUS’ latest campaign for reform that many in the ag industry feel is a direct attack upon farming.” The problem, according to HSUS, is the mistreatment of animals in livestock production agriculture for the sake of doing business. We hear this so much, that those of us in agriculture are just doing this to make money!

I’ve heard two answers for this that I agree with:

  • Those in ag “don’t do it for the money”.
    • Most all people in agriculture have a passion for it, and thus, continue to raise crops and livestock because they love what they do! If they wanted to go out and get a 6-figure job they probably could – because farmers and ranchers have to be smart – but they prefer to do what they love and thus, don’t get paid that much.
  • We aren’t ashamed to say we make money raising food because we are raising a safe, cheap, food supply; and it’s our livelihood.
    • Obviously, farmers and ranchers have to make some money raising food because they too have to feed their families as agriculture is their livelihood. But then this goes back to my first point: they do it because they love it and they happen to make money doing it to support themselves. Just because they are making money, doesn’t mean they are not treating their animal inhumanely. Just the opposite occurs – when you take care of your livestock, they take care of you.

Enough of my ranting today – let me know if you read this article and what you think…

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