Thanks so much for the fantastic "Back at the Ranch, a Horror Story" (Commentary, Dec. 1), which detailed the American Veterinarian Medical Assn.'s hypocrisy in opposing policies that would reduce animal suffering and described the thousands of chickens that were heartlessly thrown into a wood chipper.
Sadly, the callous treatment of these chickens is not unique. In fact, it is consistent with the suffering that millions of other animals raised for food endure at slaughterhouses everyday: being hung upside down, having their throats slit while fully conscious, being scalded and de-feathered while still conscious -- all after suffering through lives of constant misery in tiny, filthy cages and being deprived of everything that is natural to them.
With virtually no laws protecting animals, no enforcement of existing laws and the AVMA acting as the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse, it is up to consumers like you and me to boycott cruelty to animals.
The commentary condemning the AVMA for failing to support an end to veal and pregnant sow crating is entirely timely. And the idea that a veterinarian could even retain his credentials to practice while condoning the slaughter of 30,000 hens by pitching them into a wood chipper is absurd. The only trouble is that this commentary doesn't go far enough.
The AVMA should not only be supporting animal welfare policy, it should be leading the way, lobbying for it and giving expert testimony to push it forward. Who wants to bring his or her favorite pet to members of a medical association that can't figure out that it's not kind to a hen to throw it into a wood chipper? Or that insists that it's OK to keep calves and pregnant sows in crates so small they can't even turn around? Duh!
Miriam M. Reik
New York City
Maybe I missed something here. Are old hens no longer edible? Aren't there thousands of needy, hungry farm workers and unemployed people in the San Diego area? Are there no food banks or soup kitchens around?
Geez ... even if they are considered only marginally edible, why aren't pet food companies taking them? Are they being trashed solely so other chicken raisers can sell their hens? This sounds suspiciously like "business as usual."
Patrick G. McHenry