January 15, 2013


 Competition tests students’ animal welfare knowledge

​Posted Dec. 31, 2012
Students make their case before a panel of judges. (Courtesy of Teresa Casey-Trott)
The 12th annual Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest was held Nov. 17-18, 2012, at the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph in Ontario.
The competition is an educational tool that helps veterinary students and undergraduate and graduate students in animal science programs understand welfare issues in a variety of settings. The contest teaches ethical reasoning, encourages objective assessment of animal welfare on the basis of scientific theory and data, promotes critical thinking, and improves communication skills.
Students analyze the welfare of various types of animals as presented in comparative scenarios, determine whether the welfare of animals in one scenario is better or worse than the other, and orally present reasons for their decision to a panel of judges. Species covered in the latest contest included companion animals in veterinary clinics, laying hens, veal calves, and laboratory mice.
“We were extremely pleased by the turnout given that this was the first time the contest was held in Canada. And we were especially excited to have teams travel from as far away as California, Colorado, and Grenada just to compete here. It is clear, interest in the contest is growing in a big way,” said contest organizing committee member Dr. Derek Haley, assistant professor at Ontario Veterinary College.
The AVMA sponsored the contest with $5,000 and also provided $400 travel grants for 25 veterinary students to attend. Dr. Cia Johnson, an assistant director in the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, attended the recent competition and was pleased with the veterinary representation. “I’m proud to say that, while the veterinary division wasn’t established until 2008, it continues to be the largest division of the contest,” Dr. Johnson said.
Following are the winners in each category. Undergraduate Section: First place—Tanya Hnatejko, University of Guelph (Team 2); second place—Venessa Beaudoin, University of Guelph (Team 2); third place—Sophie Taylor, University of Guelph (Team 1). Graduate Student Section: First place—David Orban, Michigan State University; second place—Lena Levison, University of Guelph; third place—Mike Walker, University of Guelph. Veterinary Student Section: First place—Denise Yates, University of Guelph; second place—Catherine Nicoll, University of Guelph; third place—Madeleine Consentino, University of Guelph. Team Assess­ment Exercise: Undergraduate—University of Guelph (Team 2). Graduate—University of Guelph. Veterinary Student— Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Individual Assessment Exercise—Catie Cramer, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Overall Team Placing: Undergraduate Division: First place—University of Guelph (Team 2); second place—University of Guelph (Team 1); third place—University of Wisconsin-Madison. Graduate Student Division: First place—University of Guelph; second place—Michigan State University; third place—Colorado State University. Veterinary Student Division: First place—University of Guelph; second place—Atlantic Veterinary College; third place—Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.