HSUS And Association of Veterinarians For Animal Rights Form Partnership

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.

Here is their press release announcing their partnership:

“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.

(Thanks Stefani)

26 Responses to “HSUS And Association of Veterinarians For Animal Rights Form Partnership”

  1. anon says:

    The AVMA sure did diddly about the poisoning of several hundred thousand pets and the AVMA did not speak out about the injustice being done to pet parents, or the sloppy science that a bright 10 year old would not believe, and the AVMA was rolling over and playing dead for the PFI, so the AVMA and it’s minions might as well STAY dead.
    They have been dead to me for quite a while now.

    Those who value doing the right thing are doing the right thing by forming a new organization and already they have more credibility.

    I hope that the new Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association stays strong and does well. Best of luck to them.

  2. M says:

    oh good lord, just what we need HSUPETA getting stronger…

  3. anon says:

    There are many areas where I cannot agree with the Humane Society, things they could be better at doing but after this last year, the AVMA has shown itself to be in the service of the industry that ground up about a million pets and spit them back in the faces of the pet parents.

    Talk about “tainted”! The stink of the way the AVMA treated the pet food recall is not going to wash off.
    Add that to the “favors” the AVMA does for the industry , who cares how many animals suffer?, it is pretty clear that the AVMA does not care about suffering as long as the money flows , and I do not feel that I can ever support the AVMA in anything, can’t trust them at all.

  4. Jackie says:

    This sounds like a wonderful alliance that will make a difference for all animals.

  5. trucorgi says:

    anon says: The AVMA sure did diddly about the poisoning of several hundred thousand pets…………….

    Please tell us what the AVAR did.
    Please tell us what HSUS did.

  6. trucorgi says:

    This was posted on Pet Connection over a week ago.

    I will repeat my comments here.

    If you take a look at Dr. Paula Kislak you will have an idea of where they are going with this. She is a supporter/sponsor of AB 1634. She promotes sterilization of all kittens and puppies as young as 6 weeks old. She’s a vegan, and an activist. She seeks to ban racing (including the Iditarod), tail docking, ear cropping, de-barking, de-clawing and the breeding of all purebred dogs. Here’s a quote “Most “purebreds” (Chihuahuas to Great Danes) originate from only a handful of wolf-like canines that have been artificially manipulated over the last few hundred years through genetic inbreeding, in ways that are cruelly unhealthy.” source http://www.independent.com/new…..iscontent/

    From the website “Our programs and efforts on behalf of the animals will remain unchanged and this new partnership will give us access to substantially more resources to accomplish our goals.”


    Sound like HSUS bought AVAR and changed the name.

    If there are 80,000 veterinarians in the US, and 11,000 of them support HSUS that means 69,000 of them don’t. 1.2% is not a lot of support.

  7. Lynne says:

    What will this group do about vets who abuse animals?

  8. anon says:

    If 1.2% of the vets had done the right thing for the last year that would have been the best news in the world. This horror would not be a year old .
    1.2% would have been enough.
    If 1.2% is the best that can be mustered who give a crap about the animals, it is better than the percentage of .001% who stood up this last year.

    If anyone is still foolish enough to believe the AVMA after all that has gone down, just go look at the way they patted themselves and the PFI and the FDA on the back for a fine job they all did, covering up the truth.

    If this new group helps get animal abusing vets into jail and starts setting some standards they will have a lot of support.

    The pathetic attempts of pet parents to make changes have failed totally.
    Any chance of improvement is good news, there has been no good news on any other changes being made.

  9. trucorgi says:

    1.2 and going down. Vets don’t want to be associated with Peta.

    http://www.avar.org/about_position.asp The only thing I can find on AVAR’s site about pet food is in regards to vegan pet diets which ends with this statement suggesting like minded individuals feed cats road kill “For those people who absolutely cannot condone purchasing any animal products, they could conceivably obtain animal flesh to include in their companion cat’s diet from sources which do not rely on the purchase or support of animal agriculture, such as discards from restaurants, animals killed on roadways, or animals who died of natural causes.”
    Adopted by the Board of Directors August 2006.

  10. M says:



    When the HSUS can cough up some of that major money to my local Humane Society who is CONSTANTLY BEGGING for everything from $$ to bags of food to blankets, then MAYBE JUST MAYBE I will have an OUNCE of RESPECT for them.

    the HSUS has SNOWED people into thinking they are some sort of ANIMAL WELFARE GROUP. THEY ARE NOT. Ther are nothing but an ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST GROUP.

    For shit’s sake people..do your homework. Regardless of what the AVMA DID or DIDNT DO regarding dog food, the FDA and most of the dog food companies did squat as well.

  11. Jal says:

    For one vets perspective on this subject, and a very good and spirited discussion on it check out


    As for me, any respect I had left for HSUS goes out the window with this. It’s clear that HSUS is simply PETA dressed in a more conservative suit, at least when they want donations. This new Org has NOTHING to do with forming a “better” association than AVMA and EVERYTHING to do with pushing an extremist agenda. The folks at AVAR are 100% radical AR with the end of your pet keeping as the long term goal. I know one longtime AVAR member and there is no middle ground or even compassion for individual animals there. He is a vet whom I would not let touch one of my pets.

    Give to your local shelters and rescues. If you want to support a National Org., consider Maddie’s Fund or No Kill Advocacy Center. This

  12. anon says:

    Letter writing campaigns are useless because no one cares what pet parents think.
    Media covered up the truth and still is doing so.
    FDA sold their souls, if they possess such, a long time ago.
    AVMA has been in the pockets of the industry as long as the FDA.
    All of them have been very successful in dismissing the dead pets and the pet parents.
    Crappy food pushed by huge ad budgets is being sold and I think, sad as it is, that the pets got lucky this last year, that the next time will be even worse. The ineffective and wasted efforts this time mean there will be a next time.

    PETA has the clout to get media coverage. Pet parents don’t.
    PETA is going to be a voice in how things change, whether you like it or not.
    I don’t much care for that either but facts are facts and if _anything-
    is ever going to change the forces that have the clout need input and support.

    Since the AVMA has no problem with killer vets and killer food and the suffering of pets and pet parents is nothing to the AVMA, I cannot support them in anything.
    ANY organization that hassles the AVMA is ok with me.
    These days HSUS and PETA are a lesser evil.

  13. The Lioness says:

    Wow. I learned a lot reading both this thread an the one over on Doolitter.com. Thanks for the links, all.

    I don’t know what I think of this. When did the HSUS become so whacked out?

    I agree there need to be middle of the road solutions, not just for vets but for anyone who cares about helping animals.

    ~The Lioness

  14. anon says:

    I wouldn’t jump to any bad conclusions about the HSUS just yet. Both doolittler.com and naia.com seem to be sort of “anti” animal, regardless of what they actually admit to. It seems that they’re fine with the rodeo, which is pretty cruel, they’re fine with hunting, they’re fine with animals being experimented on in labs, they’re fine with no progressive spay/neuter legislation, and on and on and on. Bottom line is, it seems like they’re fine with us using animals in any way we want to - doesn’t sound too compassionate to me! I also don’t remember seeing either group’s name on any animal welfare legislation - maybe my memory isn’t serving me correctly(?) It seems to me that there are lurkers on this board with particular agendas every time a certain group is brought up - more, I mean, then posting just a regular comment on it as most of us do.

  15. Pam says:

    I don’t think the politcal bull coming from either side fools or impresses anyone.

    Game plan of allied animal $$$ interests:

    1. Use PETA’s own techniques to blow it back on them.

    2. Call any other organization that is not in lock step with $$$ animal interests, (i.e. We will do it OUR way; butt out of OUR business!) , a PETA-clone.

    The PETA clone accusations are going way beyond HSUS now so I’m not impressed anymore by any of this. (Y-A-W-N)

    All I know is that very little concern is being expressed for animal welfare in all this sensationalistic fear-mongering. (Which is what hardline animal rights groups are accused of doing, too.)

  16. M says:


    once again, read this. Perhaps then you will feel differently. They have full out admitted they are an ANIMAL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION.

    Most people think that their local Humane Society is governed by the HSUS, WRONG…they see NOT A DIME from the HSUS. The HSUS doesn’t even RUN a shelter. The HSUS takes in enough money to alleviate the financial hardship of EVERY SHELTER IN THIS COUNTRY…but they DONT GIVE THEM A DIME.

    Yes I lurk, and I won’t post until I have something to say..what’s wrong with that? Do I need to post awww how cutie pootie pootie that picture of that dog with the raccoon like mask is? I’ve been reading here since the dog food crap went down and posted then as well. Nothing gets my dander up like the HSUS, Peta and the government tryign to tell me what to do with pets (or my vagina, but I digress that’s another board and another topic).

  17. trudyjackson says:

    This will be a big mess. I feel sorry for the animals.

  18. Sharon says:

    I feel grateful someone is doing something. I believe there are vets out there who care. Here is an excerpt from the story above:

    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.

    Ok PETA haters, what’s your problem with this? I too am getting tired of rants by people who appear to have an agenda that involves trashing anything that remotely looks like it might help animals.

  19. Cathy says:

    You know, nothing seems to satisfy you people here. The old saying, you’re damned if you do & damned if you don’t seems to apply to most of the posters on this site. It’s getting to the point where I’m almost ready to stop coming here.

  20. trucorgi says:

    Sharon says:Ok PETA haters, what’s your problem with this? I too am getting tired of rants by people who appear to have an agenda that involves trashing anything that remotely looks like it might help animals.

    Good question. Perhaps this is what people mean when they say HSUS does “some good”. I think most would agree that if efforts and resources were spent on helping shelters in need and programs like RAVS, instead of lobbying for laws that threaten our rights as owners, HSUS would be viewed in a favorable light. RAVS began as Remote Area Medical Veterinary Volunteer Corps in 1995 before it was acquired by HSUS in 2002.

    The carefully worded press release above does not say HSVMA will be involved with the RAVS program at all. This merger (HSVMA), according to the press release “will result in a powerful new veterinary advocacy organization”. In plain English that means, more lobbying efforts and lending credibility from a small sector of veterinarians to push bills like AB1643.

  21. trucorgi says:

    Does anyone here really think it is appropriate for advocate veterinarians that advise dumpster diving and road kill as an alternative diet for cats with “guardians” that refuse to purchase any animal products to be influencing lawmakers on policy decisions? I don’t.

    If all of this makes some yawn (pam), others are paying attention and waking up because it aims limit our choices and ultimately change our relationship with our pets in the future.

  22. M says:

    This seems to be a very civil debate, no one is name calling, berating or flat out flaming others..they are stating their points and items they believe are FACTS.

    I refuse to live in a world where we are a bunch of bobbleheads agreeing on everything..now how boring would that be?

    Here’s the other beauty of the internet..you don’t agree or like what’s being said, click the red X on the upper right hand side of your screen.

    Why don’t I like PETA and the HSUS? Because they operate under a guise of protecting our animals. Ingrid Newkirk has publically stated that she supports BSL, especially if it means euthanizing Pit Bulls. For me personally, I don’t even need to go any further than that to have a severe dislike for PETA. Nevermind that PETA themselves have been convicted of killing and dumping animals. Nevermind that they believe that having animal companions is something that needs to be eradicated.

    Why don’t I like the HSUS? Because they LIE. They took donations from people under the guise that they were sheltering Vick’s pitbulls. They had full page emails asking for donations to help take care of these dogs that were in their care. These dogs have NEVER been in their care. They also lead people to believe that they fund local Humane Societies and actually run shelters, THEY DONT. They build their organization on LIES. Now back to PETA who is very very much in bed w/ the HSUS.

    So that’s what my problem is, I cannot support ANYTHING that is going to cause these liars to become stronger and put MY RIGHTS as a pet owner in jeopardy.

  23. M says:

    .I like how I referenced the HSUS and claiming they were caring for Vick’s pitbulls and now there’s a link to that story right up top in “related posts”.

  24. Stefani says:


    “the AVMA has shown itself to be in the service of the industry that ground up about a million pets and spit them back in the faces of the pet parents.”

    This is absolutely true. AVMA stands for nothing but industries that profit from animals, and where the economic interests of industry are at odds with humane treatment, they reliably side with the economic interests of industry and AGAINST humane treatment.

    For example, they were against the horse slaughter prevention act; they refuse to come out against Fois Gras production, etc.

    AVAR has been vocal in pointing out the hypocrisy of the AVMA on these larger issues, as well as some other issues — such as the use of companion animals in “terminal surgeries” in veterinary school. These are completely unnecessary surgeries in which vet students operate on and then kill the animals.

    However, while AVAR is strong on those “larger” issues that affect large numbers of animals, they are SILENT on issues such as:

    1. The need for enforcement of standards of care in the VETERINARY field itself — i.e., reducing veterinary malpractice
    2. Veterinary practices pushing “prescription” diets many of which are at best, no more effective than commercially available diets, and at worst, horrible nutrition,
    3. Veterinarians prescribing dangerous drugs for our pets, or failing to advise owners of possible severe side effects and what to look out for.

    In short, AVAR is silent on the widespread problem of veterinary malpractice.

    When I asked Holly Cheever of AVAR, at an HSUS conference, about stronger enforcement of standards in the profession, her answer made it clear that that is just NOT one of their priorities.

    When I asked representatives of HSUS at a conference WHY they don’t speak out about the LACK OF STATE ENFORCEMENT of regulations applying to the veterinary industry, I was told “off the record” by someone who works for them that 1) they know that it is a problem — that states don’t regulate vets well enough and don’t discipline bad vets or enforce the laws strongly enough, and 2) they CAN’T or WON’T do anything about it because they “need veterinarians” for their other larger campaigns.

    So, this new organization may speak out about issues of global animal treatment, but they will not be interested in doing anything about one of the biggest threats to YOUR PETS — the ones you love, who share your life with you — and that is the danger posed to them by VETS THEMSELVES.

    Not all vets are bad, but when good vets tolerate bad ones, it poisons the whole industry, and that is what is happening. Good vets refuse to speak out even though they know this is happening.

    While HSVMA may strive to make good changes in terms of humane treatment of farm animals, ending terminal surgeries, etc. (all good things which I support) they will no doubt remain silent on the very pervasive problem of


    The Toonces Project
    “Is Your Pet Safe at the Vet?”

  25. Jackie says:

    Stefani, I’m terribly sorry for your loss! All the best in your efforts - I hope you can affect change!

  26. Pam says:

    M says:

    January 23rd, 2008 at 4:38 pm
    .I like how I referenced the HSUS and claiming they were caring for Vick’s pitbulls and now there’s a link to that story right up top in “related posts”.

    That is interesting because the group supposedly outing HSUS in that article is the ‘Center for Consumer Freedom’ which is a group without credibility. I think it is a mistake for the anti-HSUS faction to use this entity as a mouthpiece. What if that tactic has the opposite effect as that intended? Maybe the average pet owner will ally themselves with HSUS more so than the animal $$$ interests hiring ‘Center for Consumer Freedom’ because they are turned off by disengenuous tactics?

    You are trying to reach moderates, not fringe extremists or special interests with this campaign.

    Our Pious Babylon

    By Harold Meyerson
    Thursday, April 6, 2006; Page A29
    “Working chiefly under the aegis of his Center for Consumer Freedom, Berman has accused Mothers Against Drunk Driving and kindred groups (in the words of one of his Web sites) of “junk science, intimidation tactics, and even threats of violence to push their radical agenda.” Another Berman Web site was devoted to dismissing the dangers of mercury levels in fish.

    Berman’s center was jump-started in 1995 with money from Philip Morris, and, thanks to memos that were made public in the discovery process during the lawsuits against Big Tobacco, his strategic vision is now plain for all to see. “The concept,” he wrote Philip Morris at the time, “is to unite the restaurant and hospitality industries in a campaign to defend their consumers and marketing programs against attacks from anti-smoking, anti-drinking, anti-meat, etc. activists.” The industries apparently have appreciated Berman’s work. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, a former Berman associate has produced documents showing that Coca-Cola, Wendy’s, Tyson Foods, Cargill and Outback Steakhouse are among Berman’s largest donors.”

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