The American Association of Swine Veterinarians’ Pig Welfare committee recently considered the issue of animal cruelty and its implications in U.S. swine production.
The committee encourages swine veterinarians to work with their clients in the swine industry to establish a firm and concise policy against animal abuse. Such a policy, shared with all employees, but particularly the animal caretakers, should not only prohibit animal abuse, but require management be notified if abuse is witnessed.
The committee has outlined key components producers and veterinarians should require in a policy statement. The committee offers the following as minimal guidelines:
- Animal husbandry carries an intrinsic moral/ethical obligation to animal well-being.
- Willful abuse, cruelty, and neglect should be defined, including guidelines and/or examples.
- If abuse, cruelty or neglect are witnessed, action must be taken (e.g. intervene, report).
- Requirements exist for reporting abuse, cruelty, or neglect (e.g. to whom, within what length of time).
- Committing act(s) of abuse/cruelty/neglect will have repercussions (provide details or examples).
- Failure to intervene and/or report situations of abuse, cruelty or neglect will also have repercussions (provide details or examples).
For examples of policy statements currently in use, click here. The committee urges veterinarians working with swine producers to encourage and support the development and adoption of policy guidelines to reinforce the animal cruelty concerns of everyone in swine production.