October 15, 2015


 1985 - 1995

Posted Sept. 30, 2015

The scientific section of JAVMA underwent a complete makeover toward the end of this decade, truly transforming its look.

At the beginning of 1986, scientific articles seemed to be loosely arranged on the basis of depth of scientific investigation, without regard to categorization by species. Although a “Special Commentary” or “Special Report” may have led the Journal’s scientific section, the section typically opened with reports of original research studies. “Original Studies” were followed by “Clinical Reports,” and the scientific section closed with various features such as “Economic Note,” “Topics In Drug Therapy,” “What Is Your Diagnosis?” and “New Veterinary Biological Product.” Small articles under the title of “Short Items” were used as fillers throughout the scientific section. These were often summaries of relevant veterinary research studies that had been published elsewhere, including, but certainly not limited to, the AVMA’s American Journal of Veterinary Research. “Book Reviews” also appeared as fillers throughout the scientific section. By today’s standards, the look and design of the scientific section was plain.

Fast-forward to the end of 1995, and the scientific section had been rearranged to almost the reverse of the way it had been organized in 1986. The scientific section was now divided under three distinct, sequential section headings: “Views,” “Veterinary Medicine Today,” and “Scientific Reports.“ These newly created sections respectively housed opinion pieces such as “Letters to the Editor,” feature articles such as “What Is Your Diagnosis?,” and original research articles and clinical reports. Articles within the “Scientific Reports” section were categorized by species with bar tabs for easy identification. Individual “Book Reviews” continued to be used as fillers throughout the scientific section, but gone were the “Short Items.” The feel and look of the JAVMA had been transformed into a fresher, friendlier journal.

​A Dec. 1, 1992, JAVMA news story about the importance of nonhuman primates in research toward
developing an AIDS vaccine was accompanied by this photo of one of the chimpanzees being raised
“in a healthy man-made environment” at the National Center for Research Resources in Bethesda,

It is noteworthy that this decade included the publication of the 1986 and 1993 editions of the Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia. The AVMA had taken the lead on this issue since the first report in 1963, which carried information on euthanasia of dogs, cats, and small mammals. The 1986 and 1993 reports expanded the scope of recommendations by including information for poikilothermic and aquatic animals, wildlife, and horses.

During this period, many articles appeared in JAVMA on animal rights, animal liberation, and animal welfare, as veterinarians were contemplating their role in these areas in terms of ethics and the well-being of animals and society. A distinction was being formed between animal rights and animal welfare. On Nov. 5, 1990, the first AVMA Animal Welfare Forum, titled “Enhancing Wellness in Animals and People,” was held, and the proceedings were published in the April 15, 1991, issue of JAVMA. During this decade, animal welfare articles ranged from issues concerning the welfare of laboratory animals and farm animals to that of dogs and cats. In 1994, JAVMA published an article by Temple Grandin, PhD, titled “Farm animal welfare during handling, transport, and slaughter.” This would be the first of many articles in the Journal authored by Dr. Grandin concerning the welfare of food animals and horses.

A horse places its head in a manger, turning the lights on for one minute in an otherwise dark barn, in a study of its preference for a light versus dark environment. The photo appeared as part of the Animal Welfare Forum proceedings, published in the April 15, 1991, issue of JAVMA.

Behavioral methods are as sensitive as, and in some cases more sensitive than, physiologic measurements in evaluating the well-being of animals. Quantification of behavior patterns, choice tests, and operant conditioning can all be used to construct the optimal physical and social environment for domestic animals.”

Dr. Katherine A. Houpt, “Animal behavior and animal welfare,” April 15, 1991, issue

As the prominence of animal welfare articles was expanding in JAVMA, so were articles on animal behavior. These fields were considered linked, as reflected in the article published in JAVMA in 1991 by Dr. Katherine Houpt titled “Animal behavior and animal welfare.” During this decade, the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists was added to the roster of AVMA-recognized veterinary specialty organizations. With this growing enthusiasm for and recognition of the science of animal behavior came the debut of the popular “Animal Behavior Case of the Month” feature in the Journal, which continues to this day.

The advances in veterinary medicine from 1986 through 1995 in the important areas of euthanasia, animal welfare, and animal behavior were building. The decade was one of scientific enlightenment and expansion into the well-being of all animals. And perhaps the transformed feel and look of the JAVMA during the same period was just a mirror of these exciting advances.