AVMA Humane Award

Animal Welfare/Humane Awards are generously funded by Merck Animal Health.

The AVMA Humane Award is given annually to a non-veterinarian to recognize achievement in advancing the welfare of animals through leadership, public service, education, research/product development, and/or advocacy.


  • Only non-veterinarians are eligible for the Humane Award. The Animal Welfare Award is the corresponding award for veterinarians.
  • Nominations may be submitted by:
    • Individuals 18 years or older (AVMA members and non-members) and
    • Organizations (governmental and nongovernmental)
  • Nominations must reflect specific accomplishments in the field of animal welfare, as opposed to support and promotion of the human-animal bond. The latter, while laudable, is not the focus of this award.
  • Nominations may be based on a sustained effort or an extraordinary single achievement in any or all of the following areas:
    • Leadership
    • Public service (e.g., community programs, public policy development)
    • Research and/or product development
    • Education
    • Advocacy
  • Recipients must be available and willing to attend a presentation ceremony and participate in other recognition activities.

Supporting material

  • Each nomination must include:
    • A completed nomination form
    • A copy of the nominee's curriculum vitae/resume (not to exceed two double-sided typed pages)
    • A detailed letter of nomination (not to exceed three single-sided typed pages), which describes how the nominee meets the award criteria
  • Each nomination may also include up to three letters of support for the nomination (not to exceed three single-sided typed pages each) from veterinarians, colleagues, or organizations.

Selection process

  • Preference will be given to nominees who:
    • Recognize and respect the important contribution that science, ethics, and culture bring to solving animal welfare challenges
    • Work with a variety of stakeholders to raise awareness of issues of concern and engage those stakeholders in seeking solutions to challenges
    • Work actively to improve understanding of animal welfare needs and, when necessary, change human attitudes and behavior to ensure proper stewardship
    • Communicate information about, and propose solutions to, animal welfare challenges with courage and integrity
  • Members of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee select the recipient of the AVMA Humane Award.
  • The Animal Welfare Committee may choose not to present an award for a given year.

Questions? Email avma-awardsatavma [dot] org.​

Merck Animal Health


2019 Ms. Sonia Hernandez
2018 Amanda Arrington
2017 Joan Miller
2016 Harold Dates, OH
2015 Dr. John McGlone, TX
2014 Mr. Ralph Johnson, CO
2013 Mr. Mark Tinsman, DE
2012 Dr. Camie Heleski, MI
2011 Anne Lindsay, MA
2010 Kathryn Warnick, MO
2009 Cynthia Bathurst, PhD, IL
2008 Sharon Harmon, OR
2007 Bernard Rollins, PhD, CO
2006 No Award Given
2005 Jeff Goodwin, PhD, CO
2004 Carolyn Danese, GA
2003 Detective Mike Duffey, AZ
2002 Steve Dale, IL