By Christie Keith
January 15, 2008
Gina blogged yesterday that HSUS and American Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR) have joined forces to create the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA). And I thought, wow. Smart name. And then, like Gina, I found myself wondering what the AVMA — the American Veterinary Medical Association — was gonna think about this.
I don’t know the answer to that question, but I can make a good guess. That’s because back in 2004, the AVAR was expelled from the AVMA’s annual conference after running an ad in the New York Times accusing the AVMA of supporting “some of the cruelest conditions for raising farm animals to be found anywhere in the world.”
The headline on the ad? “Has anyone betrayed more animals than the American Veterinary Medical Association?”
And although HSUS and the AVMA have from time to time stood on the same side of some issues, they parted ways rather abruptly in 2006.
So, what’s up with the copycat name, then? Could it be that HSUS wanted to cloak itself in the mantle of the AVMA’s and the veterinary profession’s credibility? To make an alliance with what is essentially a fringe veterinary group, and then use that oh-so-similar name to create an impression of a much broader veterinary medical authority?
It’s not just the name that makes me wonder, either. In announcing the formation of the new organization HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle said, â€œVeterinarians bring a special credibility and authority on animal issues.” And he’s right. They do.
But “special credibility” is not medical language. It’s not even animal welfare language. It’s PR language.