The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is concerned about reports detailing possible inhumane treatment of turkeys at poultry-breeding facilities in West Virginia.

The AVMA expects that the alleged abuse, which was captured on video, will be fully investigated. If the allegations prove to be true, it is our hope that immediate actions are taken against those responsible, including consideration of criminal animal-abuse charges.

"The people who provide America's food supply are entrusted by consumers to raise, treat and process livestock humanely," said AVMA Chief Executive Officer W. Ron DeHaven, DVM. "It is our belief that the vast majority of those who work in these settings do follow the animal-welfare guidelines established by their employers and the laws of their state.

"If the actions displayed by workers in the West Virginia incident are verified, the individuals responsible violated that public trust and should be held accountable for their actions."

The AVMA, which represents more than 76,000 veterinarians in the United States, has several policies on animal welfare. The AVMA Animal Welfare Principles, which the association uses as a philosophical basis for developing and evaluating its policies, state that "animals should be cared for in ways that minimize fear, pain, stress and suffering," and that "animals shall be treated with respect and dignity throughout their lives, and, when necessary, provided a humane death."

The AVMA and its more than 76,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site at avma for more information.

American Veterinary Medical Association

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