Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association

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The HSUS and AVAR Join Forces, Launch Humane Society Veterinary Medical

January 14, 2008

Today, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the
Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR) announced that
their respective boards of directors have approved a corporate
combination agreement which will result in a powerful new veterinary
advocacy organization, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association
(HSVMA). HSVMA will give veterinarians, veterinary students and
veterinary technicians an opportunity to participate in animal welfare
programs, including disaster response; expanded hands-on animal care;
spaying and neutering; and advocacy for legislative, corporate and
veterinary medical school reforms.

“Veterinarians bring a special credibility and authority on animal
issues, and I am delighted to add this exciting new operation to The
Humane Society of the United States’ family of organizations,” said
Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. “For 27 years, AVAR has been an
important and principled veterinary voice in animal advocacy. Now we
will be able to amplify that voice and expand our veterinary-related
programs dramatically.”

“For many years, AVAR has worked with a sizable core group of dedicated
veterinary advocates, but our ability to reach veterinarians throughout
the nation was hampered by our limited resources,” said Dr. Paula
Kislak, president of the board of AVAR. “As The Humane Society of the
United States invests more resources in veterinary advocacy and we blend
our assets with them, I anticipate that we will be able to organize many
more thousands of veterinarians in the broader cause of animal
protection.” Dr. Kislak will join the board of directors of The HSUS in
the near future.

There are approximately 80,000 veterinarians in the United States, and
11,000 of them are already supporters of The HSUS. Since 2002, The HSUS
has operated the highly successful Rural Area Veterinary Services (RAVS)
program, delivering free services to animals and people in remote
communities often underserved by veterinarians. In 2007, RAVS delivered
more than 30,000 treatments to animals. More than 700 veterinary
students a year participate in RAVS program, providing veterinary
students with invaluable clinical experience with animals in need. The
HSUS also has major collaborative programs with the veterinary schools
at Louisiana State University and Mississippi State University.

AVAR, founded in 1981, has 3,500 affiliated veterinarians. Its programs
focus on the reduction of the harmful and fatal use of animals in
veterinary training; outreach to veterinarians, veterinary technicians
and veterinary students; advocacy for companion animals and farm
animals; and public education on other animal protection and veterinary
issues. They publish two newsletters—one on alternatives to harmful or
fatal animal use in veterinary education, which is distributed three
times annually to veterinary medical students in North American
veterinary schools, and the other a general newsletter sent to
veterinarians, veterinary students and supporters.

Both groups have long expressed frustration with the industry-biased
positions taken by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
AVMA is on the opposite side of animal protection advocates or neutral
on a wide range of unacceptable abuses of animals, including the
slaughter of horses for human consumption, the continued use of
random-source dogs and cats in research, cruelty to ducks and geese in
the production of foie gras, the confinement of veal calves, breeding
pigs, and egg-laying hens in tiny crates and cages.

“All too often, the AVMA sides with animal-use industries, and not with
animals,” said Pacelle. “How could a veterinarian, who takes a sworn
oath to care for animals, not speak out against force feeding of ducks
for foie gras or the confinement of veal calves in crates so small that
the animals cannot even turn around? The Humane Society Veterinary
Medical Association will be a voice for the vast majority of
veterinarians not in the employ of industries that do harm to animals.”

HSMVA will continue the veterinary work of The HSUS and AVAR, and will
explore new programs such as offering benefits for veterinary
practitioners and starting student chapters at veterinary medical
colleges in the United States. The combination is expected to take
effect on February 1, 2008.

Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, students, and other professionals
associated with the veterinary field are encouraged to visit to sign up to receive announcements about HSVMA.

Contact Infomation
Jordan Crump: 301-548-7793

Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

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