Protest Merial's use of Cesar Millan as spokesperson

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We, the undersigned dog fanciers, stand in support of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's letter to Merial,posted below. We protest the use of Cesar Millan as a celebrity spokesperson for their advertising campaign for their parasite prevention products.

Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009

AVSAB Letter to Merial
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Today at 9:59am
Dear Dr. Line,

The executive board of the American Veterinary Society of Animal
Behavior is deeply troubled to learn that Merial, a leader in the
veterinary healthcare industry, is using Cesar Millan in a
promotional campaign for Heartgard and Frontline. We are even more
disturbed to find that Merial is cross-promoting Mr. Millan's
behavior video as part of this campaign. Merial's executives may not
be aware of the fact that the American College of Veterinary
Behaviorists (ACVB), the American Veterinary Society of Animal
Behavior (AVSAB) and the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians
(SVBT) have uniformly spoken out against the punishment-based
techniques employed by Mr. Millan on his television show "The Dog
Whisperer."

At best, the show is entertaining but misleading to pet owners. At
worst, Mr. Millan's techniques and misinformation have contributed to
increased aggression and anxiety or resulted in physical injury to
the pet and/or pet owner. As practicing veterinarians, we all
unfortunately have seen many cases of the latter. Merial claims to
"enhance the health, well-being, and performance of animals." The use
of Mr. Millan as part of an advertising campaign speaks otherwise.

In these difficult economic times, it may be understandable that
Merial would want to use a "celebrity" to advertise its products in a
direct-to-consumer fashion. However, had Merial taken the time to
investigate, it would have found that Mr. Millan's philosophy runs
counter to the standard-of- care promoted by veterinary behaviorists
and taught at veterinary schools.

We are deeply saddened that Merial's executives are not more
supportive of the veterinary behavior community and its efforts to
promote knowledgeable, scientifically- based, humane training methods.
We remain concerned that your company's support of Mr. Millan's
controversial training methods through the distribution of his video
and financial support of his show will contribute to the number of
difficult dogs and injured owners that we have to eventually console,
counsel, and reeducate. Perhaps Merial would like to support our
efforts to counteract the negative impact of this unfortunate
marketing choice that may ultimately serve to alienate educated
veterinarians, dog trainers, and owners alike.

Sincerely,

E. Kathryn Meyer, VMD (President)
John Ciribassi, DVM, DACVB (Immediate Past President)
Karen Sueda, DVM, DACVB (President Elect)
Kari Krause, DVM
Kelly Morgan, DVM
Valli Parthasarathy, PhD, DVM
Sophia Yin, PhD, DVM
Laurie Bergman, VMD, DACVB

Posted with permission from the AVSAB.

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