November 01, 2006


 AVMA Answers

Progress report on the new Animal Welfare Division

Interview by R. Scott Nolen
Posted Oct. 15, 2006

What is the goal of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division?

Dr. Lyle P. Vogel, Animal Welfare Division director, responds: 


The assigned charge of the division is to monitor the science of animal welfare and assist AVMA in proactively addressing developing issues of animal welfare. Like other AVMA divisions, the Animal Welfare Division provides staff support to the AVMA members who volunteer to serve on the committees that evaluate the issues and recommend policy to address the issues.

Once policy has been approved by the AVMA Executive Board, then the division advocates for the policy. Advocacy includes promoting or opposing legislation, providing advice during the development of government regulations, and informing various publics of the AVMA policies and the reasons for the policy. 

What issues is the division currently working on?

The AVMA Executive Board has approved five animal welfare strategic goals that the division and its assigned committees are striving to implement. One of the strategic goals is that the AVMA has definitive core values and principles to guide policy development for animal welfare. A task force, the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, has developed overarching Animal Welfare Principles that will be presented to the Executive Board in November with a recommendation for approval.

Another animal welfare strategic goal is that the AVMA have the infrastructure and resources to anticipate and proactively address emerging animal welfare/animal rights issues. The establishment of the Animal Welfare Division is one initiative that is beginning to address this goal. The redesign and establishment of the "new" Animal Welfare Committee is another way of building infrastructure and resources.  

Is there a philosophy or some other mandate that the division adheres to as it tries to determine what is in the animals' best interest?

If approved by the Executive Board, the AVMA Animal Welfare Principles will guide both the division and the Animal Welfare Committee.  

Is the division fully staffed?

No. The division is authorized with five people—so far, three have been hired: director, associate director, and administrative assistant.  

Where will the division's impact be most noticeable?

When the division is fully staffed, I think the most noticeable change will be in the timely collection of available information regarding animal welfare issues and the organized presentation of that information to the deliberative entities, namely, the Animal Welfare Committee and Executive Board.