Work on model animal welfare curriculum under way

Published on July 27, 2011
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

Nearly a dozen veterinarians, animal scientists, and educators from around the world convened at AVMA headquarters June 22-24 to begin work on a model curriculum for U.S. veterinary schools that could serve as a resource for those wishing to provide more comprehensive instruction in animal welfare.

Model Animal Welfare Curriculum Planning Group
Photo by R. Scott Nolen

While not completely absent from veterinary curricula, instruction in animal welfare science and ethics has come under increasing criticism as insufficient, unsystematic, and disconnected in delivery. In response, the AVMA created the Model Animal Welfare Curriculum Planning Group with the goal of helping veterinary students receive the education necessary to be leaders in the field of animal welfare as graduate veterinarians.

"In a nutshell, what we're trying to do is provide guidance and tools for veterinary schools in terms of the types of materials that could or should be included in teaching animal welfare," explained Dr. Linda Lord, associate dean for student affairs at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, pictured center with Dr. Suzanne Millman (left) of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Gail C. Golab, AVMA Animal Welfare Division director.

Drs. Lord and Millman are co-chairing the AVMA planning group, which is expected to present veterinary schools with a flexible, nonprescriptive curriculum covering all animal species. "Many schools are looking for direction on how to incorporate animal welfare into their curriculums, particularly when they don't have an animal welfare specialist on faculty," Dr. Lord noted.

In the months ahead, the planning group will collaborate with a broad range of stakeholders, including veterinary schools, species and practice groups, and governmental agencies. Ideally, the model animal welfare curriculum will be presented to the AVMA Executive Board for consideration in spring 2012.