The eighth annual Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Competition hosted at Michigan State University Nov. 1-2, 2008, showcased a group of aspiring animal welfare experts. For the second time, the AVMA sponsored a division for veterinary students. Students participated either in team and/or individual events, as well as educational seminars and a poster session.
Dr. Gail C. Golab, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, praised the contest for helping students recognize and develop the analytic skills and understanding of ethics necessary for success in the field of animal welfare.
"To be successful in the competition, veterinary students must familiarize themselves with various physiological and behavioral indicators of animal welfare, and critically evaluate how well a given situation suits the animal. They have to look at facilities, care practices, and management holistically, and also consider the role that social ethics play in determining what is good and poor welfare," Dr. Golab explained.
The scenarios presented during the contest are realistic and help prepare veterinary students for the challenges they will face when they are asked to provide similar recommendations after graduation, she added.
The on-farm team assessment portion of the contest considered the welfare of layer chickens, turkeys, and Coturnix quail. Students participating as individuals used information provided via PowerPoint presentations to evaluate the welfare of Przewalski horses, domestic cats, and dairy cattle.
Winners of the competition in the veterinary division were Jennafer Glaesemann, Iowa State University, 1st place; Kelly Pinner, University of Guelph, 2nd place; Kasia Sulima, University of Guelph, 3rd place; Rachel Cohen, University of Missouri-Columbia, 4th place; and Cia Johnson, University of Missouri-Columbia, 5th place.
Winning teams were, in order, the University of Guelph, Iowa State University, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Missouri-Columbia. Winners at the graduate student level were all from the University of Guelph, which also won the team award in that division. They included Maggie Gooding, 1st place; Stephanie Ellison, 2nd place; Marisa Erasmus, 3rd place; and Kristi Bovey, 4th place. In the undergraduate division, the winners were: Katelynn Lebbins, Michigan State University, 1st place; Laurie Onyskow, Purdue, 2nd place; Emelie Evenson, MSU, 3rd place; Ashley Kelly, Purdue, 4th place; and Matt Hasenjager, MSU, 5th place. Winning teams, in order, were: Purdue, MSU, and the University of Wisconsin, followed by two teams from the University of Guelph.