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CVMA Policies on Animals – General

The CVMA is opposed to animal crush videos. The term “animal crush video” means any visual depiction, including any photograph, motion-picture film, video recording, or electronic image, which depicts actual conduct in which a living animal is tortured, maimed, or mutilated, that includes but is not limited to animals being intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, or impaled, that violates any criminal prohibition of intentional cruelty under Federal or State law in which the depiction is sold or distributed, unless it is for legitimate animal welfare educational purposes.

 

(January 2011)

All animals should be provided a humane death.

Prior to euthanasia, animals should be transported and handled carefully to minimize fear, pain, suffering and distress.  State and federal laws pertaining to the transportation, handling, feeding and watering of these animals must be obeyed.  Sick or injured animals should be separated or moved to a safe place and immediately treated until euthanized.

The termination of an animal’s life should be performed by trained and qualified personnel in a humane manner and in accordance with the current version of the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia, regardless of circumstance or location.  This includes, but not limited to, a veterinary facility, university, research facility, food processing plant, animal shelter, humane society, farm, ranch, or residence.

 

(July 2010)

The California Veterinary Medical Association supports the opinion by the Department of Consumer Affairs regarding local ordinances. The opinion states that bans imposed by local ordinances are preempted by the state’s licensing law regulating the practice of veterinary medicine. Such ordinances cause confusion to the animal owning public and veterinarians and circumvent the regulatory process already in place in the state of California.

Facts:

Changing the term from Owner to Guardian is not neededand in fact, will result in many unintended consequences for pet owners.

  • Not just a “warm-and-fuzzy” change in terminology
  • It will lead to confusion and create a quagmire of legal issues for the courts, government, veterinarians, and families with pets
  • Jeopardizes the readily available health care delivery system for animals by unnecessary legal delays
  • Animals are not, and never will be, able to care for themselves if emancipated
  • There is no real evidence that the name change will benefit and actually improve the quality of life for our pets
  • Changing the term to “guardian” will not prevent the animal abuse, cruelty and neglect that exists today in our society
  • The terms “owner” and “guardian” are two entirely different legal designations and cannot be used interchangeably
  • It could undermine our laws that protect animals and provide public safety — most are predicated upon the determination of “ownership” and may not apply

The CVMA discourages the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the rick of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans. Cooking or pasteurization through the application of heat until the protein reaches an internal temperature adequate to destroy pathogenic organisms has been the traditional method used to eliminate pathogens in animal-source protein, although the CVMA recognizes that newer technologies and other methods such as irradiation are constantly being developed and implemented.

 

Animal-source proteins of concern include beef, pork, poultry, fish, and other meat from domesticated or wild animals as well as milk* and eggs. Several studies1-6 reported in peer-reviewed scientific journals have demonstrated that raw or undercooked animal-source protein may be contaminated with a variety of pathogenic organisms, including Salmonella spp, Campylobacter spp, Clostridium spp, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and enterotoxigenic Staphyloccoccus aureus. Cats and dogs may develop food borne illness after being fed animal-source protein contaminated with these organisms if adequate steps are not taken to eliminate pathogens; secondary transmission of these pathogens to humans (eg, pet owners) has also been reported.1-4 Cats and dogs can develop subclinical infections with these organisms but still pose a risk to livestock, other non-human animals, and humans, especially children, older persons, and immune compromised individuals.

 

To mitigate public health risks associated with feeding inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs, the CVMA recommends the following:

 

  • Avoid feeding inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs
  • Restrict cats’ and dogs’ access to carrion and animal carcasses (eg, while hunting)
  • Provide fresh, clean, nutritionally balanced and complete commercially prepared or home-cooked food to cats and dogs, and dispose of uneaten food at least daily
  • Practice personal hygiene (eg, handwashing) before and after feeding cats and dogs, providing treats, cleaning pet dishes, and disposing of uneaten food

 

*The recommendation not to feed unpasteurized milk to animals does not preclude the feeding of unpasteurized same-species milk to un-weaned juvenile animals.

 

(January 2013)

 

  • Joffe DJ, Schlesinger DP. Preliminary assessment of risk of Salmonella infection in dogs fed raw chicken diets. Can Vet J 2002; 43:441-442.
  • Finley R, Reid-Smith R, Weese JS, et al. Human health implications of Salmonella-contaminated natural pet treats and reaw pet food. Clin Infect Dis. 2006;42:686-691.
  • Stiver SL, Frazier KS, Mauel MJ, et al. Septicemic salmonellosis in two cats fed a raw-meat diet. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 2003;39:538-542.
  • LeJune JT, Hancock DD. Public health concerns associated with feeding raw meat diets to dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:1222-1225.
  • Freeman LM, Michel KE. Evaluation of raw food diets for dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001;218:705-709.
  • Weese SJ Rousseau J, Arroyo L. Bacteriological evaluation of commercial canine and feline raw diets. Can Vet J 2005;46:513-516.

The CVMA recognizes that animals have an important role in research, testing, and education for continued improvement of human and animal health and welfare. The CVMA also recognizes that humane care of animals used in research, testing, and education is an integral part of those activities. In keeping with these concerns, the CVMA endorses the principles embodied in the “3 Rs” tenant of Russell and Burch (1959). These principles are: replacement of animals with non-animal methods wherever feasible; reduction of the number of animals consistent with sound experimental design; and refinement of experimental methods to eliminate or reduce animal pain and distress.

 

The use of animals in research, testing, and education if a privilege carrying with it unique professional, scientific, and moral obligations, and ethical responsibilities. The CVMA encourages proper stewardship of all animals, and supports the judicious use of animals in meaningful research, testing, and education programs. Third party review of welfare of all animals is essential for all facilities.

 

The CVMA condemns all acts of violence, vandalism, or intimidation directed toward individuals, facilities, or tertiary organizations affiliated with the use of animals in research, testing, or education.

 

(January 2013)

CVMA supports the concept of early (8-16 weeks of age) ovariohysterectomies/gonadectomies in dogs and cats, in an effort to stem the overpopulation problem in these species.

Owners must take responsibility for securing solutions for their unwanted companion animals.  Possible solutions include: re-homing animals through gift, donation or sale, voluntary relinquishment to rescue facilities, animal control agencies, or shelters.  Veterinary involvement or oversight is recommended for any unwanted animal with health or behavioral issues, or when an owner is considering euthanasia.

 

If an animal cannot be adopted, euthanasia may be appropriate when conducted by qualified personnel, using humane methods that comply with local and state laws.

 

(April 2013)

The CVMA supports the responsible breeding of companion animals such that only animals without deleterious inherited disorders are selected for breeding. Companion animals with inherited characteristics that negatively affect the animal’s health and welfare should not be bred, as those characteristics and related problems are likely to be passed on to their progeny. To assist with this, the CVMA encourages veterinarians to pursue continuing education in the emerging area of genetic diseases in companion animals. The CVMA encourages veterinarians to educate breeders, pet owners and the public on the responsibilities involved with breeding and selecting pets to ensure that they are not contributing to poor animal health and welfare issues.

 

(October 2017)

The CVMA supports the humane and ethical use of horses in urban environments, such as mounted patrols, tourist carriages and taxi/limousine services, in accordance with federal, state and local animal protection laws. Horses engaged in these activities require that special working and living conditions and precautions be taken for their safety and well-being. Urban environments present potential health and welfare hazards that may preclude their use, such as extremes of pollution, concussion, climate and load.

 

Provisions concerning work hours, workloads and living conditions, standards of driver training and passenger safety should be prepared for each jurisdiction and reviewed by an equine veterinarian. To ensure the health and welfare of horses in urban environments, they should be examined at least annually by competent equine veterinarians, with all findings recorded. Examination criteria should be in accord with the CVMA’s Eight Principles of Animal Care, Use, and Welfare. Examinations should include body condition, freedom from lameness and disease, appropriateness of living conditions and transport., and behavioral and social needs. Passing such examinations should be required for obtaining or renewing an operating permit. Appropriate licensing standards should be established and adhered to by local authorities.

 

The equine veterinarian is the most qualified individual to manage the health care and welfare needs of the horse. The owners and caregivers of horses working in urban settings should have a professional relationship with a veterinary practice with equine expertise that can respond appropriately to all emergencies, including those in which humane euthanasia is required. In the absence of a veterinarian in such a situation, the CVMA acknowledges that it may be necessary for licensed, qualified animal control or trained law enforcement personnel to perform euthanasia using the established guidelines of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

 

(October 2017)

The Unwanted Horse is a credible issue in the United States. Developing solutions for managing unwanted horses must act in accordance with California and federal regulations regarding the sale and transportation of horses for the purpose of slaughter for human consumption, and with the CVMA policy regarding humane euthanasia practices.

 

Since U.S. equine processing facilities were closed in 2007 and municipal shelters for horses in local communities are limited or non-existent, owners must take responsibility for securing alternative solutions for their unwanted animals.

 

Possible alternatives include: re-homing horses through gift, donation or sale, voluntary relinquishment to rescue facilities or animal control agencies, or euthanasia. Veterinary involvement is recommended for any unwanted horse with health issues, or when an owner is considering euthanasia.

 

To effectively reduce the number of unwanted horses and to improve their welfare, the horse industry, horse owners, and the veterinary community should develop and participate in effective educational programs focused on the responsibilities of equine ownership. The ultimate responsibility for the welfare of the horse is the owner who will be held accountable.

 

(January 2011)