Renee McMahon
Last month, PETA made it known that it wasn't happy with the American Veterinary Medicine Association 's decision to hold a Pike Place


PETA's Mermaids, Mermen Will Return to Protest Fish Toss

Renee McMahon
Last month, PETA made it known that it wasn't happy with the American Veterinary Medicine Association's decision to hold a Pike Place Market-imitating fish toss at the Seattle AVMA convention. A PETA spokesperson said the toss is "morally no different from a dead kitten toss," and the group offered to buy the AVMA rubber fish.

Apparently, the AVMA wants to use the real thing, as today PETA announced it'll be breaking out the big guns: At high noon tomorrow, the lethargic, shimmering mermaids and mermen, pictured at left protesting fish farms at the Convention Center last February, shall return. They'll be joined by PETA members holding up signs describing the pain fish endure when caught and criticizing the AVMA for its positions on various other animal issues.

AVMA CEO Ron DeHaven responds: "We certainly respect and value PETA's right to express an opinion and to hold a peaceful demonstration. On the other hand, we disagree with their position. We have some very well-founded animal welfare principles that include the responsible use of animals, including fish, for food and fiber purposes. I don't think there is any better advocate for animals then veterinarians, because we care for the well-being of all animals."

PETA's release after the jump:


Group Calls Out Veterinary Association for Its Lack of Vision and Failure to Act on Animal Welfare Issues

Seattle -- Wearing fish tails and shimmery body paint, PETA members will lie "dead" on the ground during a demonstration outside the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) conference in Seattle on Saturday to call attention to the AMVA's failure to adopt policies to lessen the suffering of fish and other animals. Some protesters will hold signs describing what the fish will endure before being tossed around during the fish-throwing demonstration that's planned for the convention. Others will carry signs that criticize the AVMA's weak and archaic stance on pressing animal issues--from their support for gestation enclosures (tiny concrete-and-metal crates in which pregnant pigs are confined so tightly that they're unable to take a step in any direction) to the force-feeding of birds for foie gras production.

Date: Saturday, July 11

Time: 12 noon

Place: Washington State Convention Center, 701 Pike St., Seattle

Veterinarian Dr. Barry Kipperman, an AVMA member, wrote in a post on the PETA Prime Web site, "It's my hope that PETA ... will remind the AVMA leadership that its decisions are not in keeping with a membership and a general populace that increasingly believe that our relationship with animals should be one of mutual respect and care."

Despite protests from within its ranks, the veterinary trade group supports the use of gestation crates--factory-farm enclosures that are so cruel that they've been banned in several states and overseas. Similar protests have erupted within the organization over the AVMA's support of other cruel factory-farming methods, including the use of pneumatic tubes to force-feed birds. The European Union's Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare has condemned the force-feeding of birds. The painful procedure, which causes birds' livers to become diseased and can cause their livers to rupture, has been banned in more than a dozen countries. The AVMA is even considering weakening its stance on cruel cosmetic mutilations of dogs and cats.

"The AVMA is a trade group that often sides with animal abusers, not with animals," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "People expect more from the very people who are charged with helping and protecting animals."

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