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US vet group joins horse slaughter debate

March 16, 2007

A group of veterinarians from all disciplines has created a new organisation Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW) out of concern about the misinformation being transmitted to the public regarding the national debate on horse slaughter.

Members of VEW believe that the veterinary profession's integrity is being undermined by the hard-line stance of a few individuals whose opinions have been swayed by unfounded logistical concerns, as opposed to what should be a primary concern for animal welfare.

VEW consulted with representatives of the horse industry, the field of equine rescue and the humane community to respond to their concerns, with the goal of improving the life-quality of all horses. It has been common practice in the veterinary profession to marginalize animal welfare advocates, and the veterinarians involved in VEW believe that it is time for a change.

"As a veterinarian, my first concern is for the health and well-being of my patients, which come from all walks of equine life. They represent the spectrum from equine royalty to wild horses," said VEW Founding Executive Committee member Nena Winand, DVM, PhD.

"I support VEW and the dialogue it has engendered, because I believe it will truly strengthen our ability to improve the life- quality of all of our patients."

The coalition recently launched a website as a resource to educate other veterinarians, animal health professionals and horse owners about the options available for day-to-day proper treatment of horses, and to provide humane information and options to those who can no longer care for (or must end the lives of) their horses.

"The views of individual VEW vets are, and should be, more respected than any 'body' that represents them, as they are aimed at educating politicians and laymen alike on issues that have escaped their attention," said Theo Antikas, DVM, PhD.

"In the words of Heraclitus, 'education is the sun to the educated.'

"It is hoped that educated vets will put an end to the unwarranted, immoral suffering of horses prior to and during slaughter."

The website will also serve as a forum to inform other veterinarians, horse owners, politicians and the American public about the truth behind horse slaughter, a practice that has never been considered a legitimate form of euthanasia by veterinary professionals or organizations.



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