You may recall from a past AC post that Animal Rights activists have actively and successfully campaigned against the production of foie gras in the US, most recently in California, on the grounds that it is cruel to the birds. The
Now, the American Veterinary Medical Association has issued a press release on the issue of forced feeding of ducks and geese to produce foie gras. It's well worth reading.
MINNEAPOLIS, July 16 /PRNewswire/ -- In a unanimous decision, the American Veterinary Medical Association's House of Delegates (HOD) has defeated a resolution opposing the practice of force-feeding ducks and geese to produce foie gras.
In their discussion, the HOD considered their obligations to animals, society, and veterinary medicine. However, because limited peer-reviewed, scientific information dealing with the animal welfare concerns associated with foie gras production is available, and because the observations and practical experience of HOD members indicate a minimum of adverse effects on the birds involved, the HOD did not support the resolution opposing force feeding used to produce foie gras. [My emphasis . . . ed]
"We've looked at the science and current production practices, and have found it is not necessary for the AVMA to take a position either for or against foie gras production at this time," said Dr. Bonnie Beaver, AVMA President.
The AVMA's HOD examined the issue and had a chance to speak out strongly against forced feeding, but did not. Their decision not to oppose such feeding trumps, in spades, the HOD's unwillingness to endorse the practice. I would argue that they made exactly the correct decision: their first and overriding priority should be to condemn a practice if it is cruel by Animal Welfare standards, not Animal Rights attitudes. In this case, "not taking a position" is exactly the correct thing to do, and is highly significant because the position they were considering was whether or not the feeding is cruel. They decided it was not.
The burden of proof rests with the claimant to support his case of cruelty with evidence, not for those opposing the claim to falsify his unproved assertion.
The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 71,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. AVMA members are dedicated to advancing the science and art of veterinary medicine including its relationship to public health and agriculture. Visit the AVMA Web site at http://www.avma.org to learn more about veterinary medicine, animal care and access up-to-date information on the association's issues, policies and activities.
In the world of Animal Rights, esthetics often masquerades as ethics, and emotion often trumps evidence. Its a powerful brew, well able to sway a naive, disinterested or passive public who don't see themselves having a stake in an outcome, which, I suspect, is what happened in California.