Animal Welfare in Veterinary Medical Education and Research

November 8-11, 2009
The Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center at
Michigan State University

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November 8 | November 9 | November 10 | November 11


November 8

6:00-7:30 Welcome Reception

Day 1 – Animal Welfare: An Evolving Discipline

7:15-8:00 Continental Breakfast

Opening Remarks
Welcome and a word from our hosts
     Larry Corry (President, AVMA)
     Warwick Arden (President, AAVMC)
     Christopher Brown (Dean, MSU College of Veterinary Medicine)
     Jeff Armstrong (Dean, MSU College of Agricultural and Natural Resources)

Comments from the guest editors of the spring 2010 JVME
8:15-8:45 Thoughts from our patrons
     Chester Gipson (USDA-APHIS, Animal Care)
     Mark Tetrick (P&G Pet Care)

The Roles of Science and Society
Words matter—The implications of semantics and imagery in framing animal welfare issues
Candace Croney (The Ohio State University, USA)

Discussions of animal care in the United States are typically emotionally laden, values-driven, and highly polarized. Techniques used by different stakeholders to frame animal welfare issues will be critically analyzed, as will their implications.

9:25-10:00 How welfare is measured and why scientists do it differently
Janice Swanson (Michigan State University, USA)

Scientific assessment of the welfare of animals is relatively new as compared to established disciplines. A comprehensive measurement of animal welfare often requires a multidisciplinary integrative approach. How the training of scientists can influence their approach and their weighting of variables they select to measure animal welfare will be discussed.

10:05-10:20 Break
10:20-10:55 Galloping colts, fetal feelings and reassuring regulations: putting animal welfare science into practice
David Mellor (Massey University, New Zealand)

Ever wondered why a colt does not gallop around in the uterus, but soon after birth it can gallop around a field? Questions like these have stimulated interest in control of fetal activity and arousal state, and the extent to which fetuses might consciously experience sensations or feelings. The answers, some of them surprising, provide a foundation for humane and practical management of fetal and newborn animals and for framing related regulations, and are a good example of putting animal welfare science into practice.

11:00-11:35 Animal ethics and public expectations: The North American outlook
Paul Thompson (Michigan State University, USA)

Social science research on the American public's attitudes toward the welfare of food animals tracks closely with a difficult-to-resolve philosophical issue. One view interprets welfare in terms of the animal's physical condition and cognitive well-being. The other derives norms for welfare from a concept of what is "natural" for the species. Both approaches reflect traditions of ethical thinking that have long histories of application to human and non-human animals, and each appears to have a significant constituency among the public. The result is differing approaches and differing standards for animal welfare. This philosophical debate dates back to ancient times suggesting it will not be resolved easily.

11:45-1:00 Luncheon

Entities and Agreements
Animal welfare: A complex international and domestic policy issue-Who are the key players?
David Bayvel (Chair, OIE AW Working Group, New Zealand)

Rather than being a black-and-white, scientific, moral or philosophical issue, animal welfare is a complex, multifaceted, international public policy issue. Animal welfare policy presents significant change management challenges to ensure ownership and buy-in from affected animal user groups and society at large. The range and orientation of key stakeholders will be discussed and a potential leadership role for individual veterinarians, and the veterinary profession, will be emphasized.

1:40-2:15 An Australian perspective on creating standards and assuring compliance
Peter Thornber (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australia)

Australian animal welfare legislation focuses on the 'duty of care' owed by people responsible for delivering good animal welfare outcomes. In the livestock sector this responsibility is mirrored by ongoing development of standards, guidelines and codes of practice to help people understand responsibilities and expectations. The standards, guidelines and model codes also inform the development of contemporary, evidence-based quality assurance programs for industries and provide a basis for competency-based training programs for animal handlers.

2:20-2:35 Break
2:35-3:10 A European perspective on creating standards and assuring compliance
Laurence Bonafos (European Commission, Belgium)

Animal welfare standards currently applicable in the European Union and how they were established will be described. Also discussed will be the on-going initiatives of the European Commission to continually update these standards, raise awareness and create consensus on ensuring animal welfare in Europe and internationally.

3:15-3:50 Animal welfare assurance in the United States
Gail Golab (AVMA, USA)

In the United States animal welfare is assured by a combination of federal, state and local legislation and a variety of voluntary programs. Practices become more tightly regulated when there is a loss of public trust, often after a widely publicized incident. Animal users are subject to continued public interest and scrutiny and must seize opportunities available to them to demonstrate a broad-based understanding of animal welfare and show their care of animals is appropriate and constantly improving.

4:00-4:30 Q&A With Speakers
4:45-6:15 Reception and Poster Session
7:00-10:00 Dinner and Tour of Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Day 2 – Meeting Societal Needs through Veterinary Education and Research

7:15-8:00 Continental Breakfast
8:00-8:05 Opening Remarks
Marguerite Pappaioanou (Executive Director, AAVMC)

Animal Welfare Education and Research
The history of animal welfare education
David Main (University of Bristol, United Kingdom)

Promoting animal welfare may be a major motivation for students entering veterinary programs and yet the subject has, until recently, not been a major part of the curriculum in many institutions. This presentation will address how animal welfare science, ethics and law have previously been presented to veterinary students.

8:45-9:20 The history and current state of animal welfare research
Suzanne Millman (Iowa State University, USA)

Basic and applied research is needed to advance knowledge about animal welfare so that animal owners, veterinarians and policy makers can make sensible evidence-based decisions about animal care. In this presentation, milestones in animal welfare research will be explored for animals used for companion, food and entertainment purposes. Further, research questions that relate to the welfare of laboratory animals are increasingly explored through definitions of pain and distress, and concepts such as the three Rs—reduce, refine and replace. Key areas where additional research is needed will be discussed.

9:25-10:00 Stakeholder needs and expectations for animal welfare education and research
Don Broom (Cambridge University, United Kingdom)

Consumers are steadily broadening their idea of product quality. The animal industries are becoming more aware of changes in public expectations, and producers, researchers, consumers and governmental agencies are requesting scientific information about animal welfare. Education in the veterinary, animal, and biological sciences has not always kept pace with recent developments, so there is an urgent need for animal welfare courses to be taught in universities. Professionals, including veterinarians, also need continuing education courses in animal welfare.

10:05-10:20 Break

Models for Veterinary Animal Welfare Education
Challenges and approaches to teaching animal welfare in the DVM curriculum-A case study
Linda Lord (The Ohio State University, USA)

An overview of challenges faced in teaching animal welfare in the veterinary curriculum and potential approaches that can be used will be provided. One approach used at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine to expose students to animal welfare issues will be discussed in depth.

11:00-11:35 Teaching animal welfare in Chile and some schools of veterinary medicine in Latin America
Nestor Tadich (Austral University, Chile)

Animal welfare is an emerging topic in Latin America because of its impact on animal health, international trade, industry economic viability and consumer perception. To enable veterinarians to be primary promoters of animal welfare, their training must include competencies in ethics, ethology, research and public policy. During the past five years, animal welfare has been gradually incorporated into the curriculum of several schools of veterinary medicine in Chile. Inclusion in the curriculum is limited by a shortage of knowledgeable instructors. Research sustains the presence of animal welfare in the curriculum, but funding for research is often lacking.

11:40-12:10 Student Panel

12:15-1:45 Luncheon

After the DVM
Opportunities for learning about animal welfare from online courses to graduate degrees
Janice Siegford (Michigan State University, USA)

Online courses can be excellent ways to become familiar with current animal welfare-related research, leading scientists, and ever-changing assessment schemes and regulations. Online courses remove the geographical and scheduling constraints affecting traditional face-to-face courses that prevent many veterinarians and veterinary students from learning about animal welfare. Graduate programs in animal welfare, which are often housed in animal science departments, offer students in-depth education and research experience in animal welfare and can allow individuals to focus on particular areas or species of interest.

2:25-3:00 Specialization
Bonnie Beaver (Texas A&M University, USA)

As leaders in animal welfare, veterinarians can step up to the highest level of expertise through specialization. Development of specialties promotes the profession's leadership by proactively addressing issues instead of reacting to them. This presentation will consider how specialization allows that to happen and will provide information about the highly anticipated American College of Animal Welfare.

3:05-3:20 Break

Models for Animal Welfare Research
Blurring the lines—From research to outreach and back again
Dan Weary (The University British Columbia, Canada)

Traditional science often starts and ends in the armchair; curiosity inspires hypotheses, these are tested, and the results fed back through academic journals to an audience of other academics. In contrast, the science in animal welfare is most effective when integrated with end users: the public, policy makers, farmers and others responsible for animal care. Research questions emerge from discussions with stakeholders. Research findings are used by stakeholders to improve solutions, and by researchers to further engage with stakeholders. In this way, research is one element of an on-going process of helping stakeholders identify and solve problems in animal welfare.

4:00-4:35 Shaping the next generation of discourse—Selecting students to foster animal welfare research and dialogue
Joy Mench (University of California, Davis, USA)

Public concern about the welfare of animals is increasing exponentially. However, we are ill-equipped in the United States to address these concerns because of a historical lack of support for research in animal welfare and bioethics. Research training of postgraduate students will be critical to address increasing needs. This presentation will focus on various aspects of that training, including selecting appropriate students and providing them with the toolkit they need to foster animal welfare research and dialogue.

4:40-5:15 Private and public funding: Creating a clearinghouse of information
Ed Pajor (University of Calgary, Canada)

Funding for animal welfare research is available from limited sources providing limited funds. In many cases, funding for research tends to be reactionary, and therefore specific, as well as short-term. As public concern over animal welfare increases, additional funding reflecting a proactive, long-term vision with regard to animal welfare concerns and policy development is required. The current state of research funding for animal welfare will be discussed and new approaches and collaborations to secure additional research funds will be considered.

5:20-5:55 Implications of the Foresight Report for animal welfare education and research
Janver Krehbiel (Michigan State University, USA)

Points of concern and recommendations regarding animal welfare education that surfaced in the Foresight Report will be discussed. In addition, a brief summary of how veterinary colleges are presently addressing animal welfare in their education and research programs will be provided.

6:00-6:30 Q&A With Speakers
6:45-8:15 Symposium Dinner

Day 3 - Moving Forward

7:15-8:00 Continental Breakfast
8:00-8:05 Opening Remarks
W. Ron DeHaven (Chief Executive Officer, AVMA)

Talking with Each Other
When opposites attract—Learning from our differences
Dan Marsman (Chair, AVMA Animal Welfare Committee/P&G, USA)

Using examples from implementation of animal welfare considerations and 3Rs alternatives into product safety evaluation, this talk will explore the diversity of stakeholder perspectives in a search for common ground. Understanding and embracing stakeholder diversity can lower rancor and be a powerful driver for successful alliances that can ultimately improve animal welfare and ensure science-based protection of human and animal health and the environment.

8:45-9:20 The veterinary culture in relation to animal welfare: Special challenges for veterinarians
Gary Patronek (Animal Rescue League of Boston, USA)

Some developments in animal welfare veterinary education during the past 20 years will be reviewed, and special challenges the veterinary profession faces in successfully addressing animal welfare issues will be presented.

Good science—Only the start to responsible animal welfare policy
Senator Wayne Allard (Former Senator from Colorado, USA)

Bringing good science to the table is necessary for creating responsible animal welfare policy. Unfortunately, science alone doesn't ensure responsible public policy. This presentation will highlight the factors involved in creating responsible public policy focused on animal welfare.

10:05-10:20 Break
10:20-10:55 Expertise and advocacy in animal welfare policy
Larry Carbone (University of California, San Francisco, USA)

Veterinarians' status as animal experts uniquely positions them to be advocates for the animal welfare they value. That privileged position is jeopardized when veterinarians go beyond their expertise in their advocacy, as well as when they erroneously conclude that facts alone can settle policy discussions. Veterinary students should be encouraged to examine the animal welfare policy implications of the medical facts they learn. Simultaneously they should learn to identify and address the empirical questions in any policy and ethics cases they engage, and to explore how factual expertise can inform, but rarely dictate ethical decisions.

11:00-11:35 Educating the Public—Information or persuasion?
Grahame Coleman (Monash University, Australia)

Animal welfare questions are prominently featured in the media whenever animal experimentation, intensive livestock production, vertebrate pest control or companion animal management practices come under scrutiny. Interest is usually triggered by activist groups initiating a campaign against an animal industry or practice, or by some adverse event that compromises animal welfare. Rather than attempting to persuade stakeholders, who generally hold strongly opposing views, the approach most likely to be effective is providing appropriately targeted dispassionate and factual information to communities with an interest.

11:40-12:15 Achieving broad involvement—Building a constituency
Bennie Osburn (University of California, Davis, USA)

Veterinary medicine is challenged to address animal welfare issues because of the diversity of animal species and the variety of perspectives encompassed within the society it serves. In most cases, the veterinary practitioner receives compensation from the client/owner of the domestic animals for which s/he cares. Leadership requires the profession to work with various constituencies to identify issues and then apply overall strategies that are of importance to the well being of all animal species and society.

12:20-12:55 Summary and Action Statement
David Morton (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom)