"Animal welfare: Seeing the forest and the trees" is a new brochure that describes the AVMA's philosophy regarding animal welfare.
Veterinary students are the primary audience for the brochure, which also is available at www.avma.org/issues for public access. The brochure states that science and ethics should be the basis of decisions about animal welfare, as well as a whole-system approach and careful consideration of the consequences of decisions—such as how changes to improve the behavioral aspects of animal welfare may result in detriments to the health aspects.
The brochure's introductory section defines animal welfare and lists the AVMA Animal Welfare Principles. Other sections address production animals and laboratory animals.
According to the brochure: "Veterinarians provide the foundation for animal welfare by conducting animal welfare research; preserving the health of animals; providing guidance on housing, nutrition, humane handling, and management; and, when necessary, providing humane euthanasia. Sound knowledge of animal physiology and behavior gives veterinarians a unique perspective and allows them to assess animal care and use systems in their entirety, balancing science and ethics to protect animal welfare in the context of societal values."
The brochure encourages veterinary students to seek out additional information about animal welfare from sources such as the AVMA Web site, serve on AVMA entities to help shape policy and actions relevant to animal welfare, and participate in learning experiences such as the Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Competition through Michigan State University and the AVMA.