Update on HSVMA Petition on Pregnant Sow Housing

August 18, 2014

This spring, HSVMA collected signatures on a petition to the American Veterinary Medical Association concerning the housing of pregnant sows. The petition, which was submitted in May with more than 1,000 veterinary signatures from all 50 states, asked the AVMA to update their policy statement on pregnant sow housing to include language that the sows should have the ability to stand up, turn around and stretch. The goal with this revision was to end the extreme confinement of pregnant sows in gestation crates. See the HSVMA Veterinary Report on Gestation Crates for more information on this issue»

Also this spring, the Animal Welfare Committee of the AVMA put forward its own resolution on the pregnant sow housing issue, asking the Executive Board to approve a revised policy statement that called for sows to have “adequate quality and quantity of space” that allows them to assume “normal postures and express normal patterns of behavior.” The Executive Board did not act, but forwarded that resolution on to the House of Delegates with the recommendation to approve.

In the timeframe leading up to the House of Delegates meeting in July, at which both resolutions would have been discussed, HSVMA learned from our veterinary colleagues in the HOD that there was confusion created by the two proposals. Additionally, the AVMA proposal was being interpreted by many to have the same intent as the HSVMA version—ending the extreme confinement of pregnant sows.

As a result, after substantial deliberation, the HSVMA Board of Directors made the strategic decision to withdraw the HSVMA petition and lend our support to the AVMA version. This version was subsequently approved by a 99 percent “yes” vote during the House of Delegates meeting.

HSVMA stands for the promotion of animal welfare as our highest priority, and we believe our decision to support the AVMA resolution, which was carefully weighed from that perspective, represented the best outcome for advancing the welfare of pregnant sows at this time.

Read the HSVMA press statement on this issue and access the AVMA convention newspaper reporting on these events»