Veterinarians – Whose Side are They On?

If you have a pet dog or cat, you probably think kindly of your “vet.” After all, they take care of your pet’s health when they are sick and when your pet’s time has come, help them to pass on peacefully.

But there is another side of the veterinary trade as well. Vets working in agricultural jobs in some states don’t necessarily have the animals’ interests in mind. Often the suffering of animals is ignored, or tolerated, and one or two, or even ten instances of animal abuse is OK – after all, it’s only ten out of ten thousand. A small percentage to be sure, but to the animal that is suffering, statistics are of little comfort.

Dr. Sarah Mason is a poster child example of good vets gone bad. Working for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Mason tipped off Butterball about an impending raid, apparently so they could clean up their act before the cops showed up. The raid was a result of undercover efforts by Mercy for Animals that showed Butterball workers kicking and stomping turkeys. Apparently, Mason was more concerned about the victimizers than the victims. She should have been telling the turkeys “Look out, the sadists just clocked in.”

Dr. Mason got 45 days in jail, which some might see as a just reward, but will that change her into a more caring person? The veterinary oath goes something like this: “I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of livestock resources, the promotion of public health and the advancement of medical knowledge.” Mason clearly failed on all accounts.

Hopefully, while Mason was munching away on her turkey sandwiches, courtesy of the taxpayers, she thought about what she had done. Maybe she even grabbed a wishbone and wished to be a better person. Let’s hope so.

But for as much as Mason failed to uphold the standards of the veterinary profession, we have failed as well. When we continue to buy animal products from factory farmed operations we are tacitly contributing to the animal suffering that goes on. You have a choice, please use it.


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