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In April, Mercy for Animals released their latest undercover investigation, revealing horrific abuse at the E6 Cattle Co. in Hart, Texas. Workers were shown bludgeoning calves with hammers and pickaxes, throwing still-conscious calves onto piles of dead ones, kicking calves and standing on their necks, and committing other acts of shocking cruelty.

The American Veterinary Medical Association responded to the investigation, calling for video in slaughter facilities and zero tolerance for abuse. Executive Vice President W. Ron DeHaven said, "We're seeing this happen much too often, and it's time we take a stronger stance against such abuse ... If producers were treating animals in a humane manner, there would be no need for undercover filming. Frankly, we can't understand why responsible producers would object to being filmed ..."

Yet at least three states -- Florida (SB 1246), Iowa (SF 431) and Minnesota (SF 1118/HF1369) -- are currently considering bills that would make undercover investigations at factory farms and slaughterhouses illegal. If the AVMA really wants to take a zero tolerance stand against abuse, they'll take a stand against these bills.

While video monitoring of slaughterhouses is a great idea, the footage would have to be regularly reviewed and regulatory agencies (which rarely crack down on factory farms) would have to act on them. The reality is that undercover investigations are the only way factory farms are currently being held accountable for animal cruelty and consumer safety risks.

Tell the AVMA to stand behind their strong words condemning the inhumane treatment of animals on factory farms by opposing the bills that would make undercover investigations illegal.

Photo credit: Mercy for Animals

Letter to
Assistant Director, Gov Relations, AVMA Dr. Ashley Shelton
Publicity, AVMA Tom McPheron
AVMA Government Relations
and 4 others
Executive Vice President, AVMA Dr. Ron DeHaven
Department of State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
Executive Director, Iowa Veterinary Medical Association Dr. Tom Johnson
Executive Director, Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association Dan Tjornehoj
After reviewing footage from an undercover investigation at E6 Cattle Co. in Hart, Texas -- where workers were shown bludgeoning calves with hammers and pickaxes, throwing still-conscious calves onto piles of dead ones, kicking calves and standing on their necks, and committing other acts of shocking cruelty -- the AVMA responded by calling for video in slaughter facilities and zero tolerance for abuse on farms.

Iowa (SF 431) and Minnesota (SF 1118/HF1369) are currently considering bills that would outlaw these types of investigations which hold the agriculture industry accountable for animal abuse. I urge the AVMA to show that your organization will not tolerate animal cruelty by opposing these bills.

Factory farm owners are already protected by laws that address trespassing, fraud, and property damage; it's the animals who lack protections. These bills put the interest of industry ahead of animals and consumers.

In response to the E6 Cattle Co. investigation, AVMA Executive Vice President W. Ron DeHaven said, "We're seeing this happen much too often, and it's time we take a stronger stance against such abuse ... If producers were treating animals in a humane manner, there would be no need for undercover filming. Frankly, we can't understand why responsible producers would object to being filmed ..."

DeHaven also wrote: "Too often, those in the industry seem more concerned about attacking those responsible for producing the videos than addressing the abuse depicted in them, and that attitude has got to change. Attempting to shift the blame is a denial of the real issue." Shifting the blame and ignoring the real issue of abuse on factory farms is exactly what these bills against documenting agricultural operations intend to do.

I urge the AVMA to stand behind your strong words condemning the inhumane treatment of animals on factory farms by opposing the bills that would make undercover investigations illegal.

Thank you.