AVMA goes global

Leaders attend the World Veterinary Congress, AVMA member receives animal welfare award
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Veterinarians from around the world, including AVMA members and leaders, and veterinary students gathered to participate in continuing education sessions and to network and discuss global veterinary issues at the World Veterinary Association Congress, held April 27-30 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The 35th congress, hosted by the Colegio de Medicos Veterinarios de Costa Rica, brought together about 1,000 attendees for continuing education centered on small and large animal medicine and surgery, public health, and special sessions addressing issues such as one health and animal welfare in disaster management. Dr. Cia Johnson, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, provided information on the recently released AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals.

The value of vaccination was the theme for the Global Summit on One Health, which was co-sponsored by the WVA, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), World Health Organization, and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

During the opening ceremony of this year's congress, the WVA paid video tribute to former AVMA president Dr. René Carlson, who died March 26. Dr. Carlson was also the immediate past president of the WVA.

Also during the Congress, AVMA member Dr. Jose Peralta received one of six 2019 WVA Global Animal Welfare Awards, and the AVMA sponsored an Animal Welfare Assessment Contest workshop—the first of its kind held in Latin America.

Contest participants
Participants in the Animal Welfare Assessment Contest workshop. (Photo by Dr. Elizabeth Sabin)

AVMA workshop

The AVMA Animal Welfare Assessment Contest workshop—presented by Dr. Cia Johnson and Dr. Janice Siegford, associate professor of animal behavior and welfare at Michigan State University and a member of the contest's Coordinating Committee—provided attendees with a history of the contest, which was founded in 2001 at Michigan State University and is now administered annually by the AVMA, and allowed participants to experience how the contest works. The hope is that attendees will use knowledge gained from this experience to enter an upcoming contest in the United States or to use forthcoming tools from the AVMA to replicate the contest in their own countries. Complete information is available on the contest website.

Global Animal Welfare Award

In a special ceremony held April 28, the recipients of the 2019 WVA Global Animal Welfare Awards were announced. These awards, which are supported by Ceva Animal Health, recognize veterinarians from each of the six WVA regions who are members of a WVA member association and who have made substantial positive impacts on animal welfare.

Dr. Jose Peralta received the award for the North American region. He is a professor of animal welfare at Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine and has been an AVMA member for 22 years. Dr. Peralta served on the AVMA's Model Animal Welfare Curriculum Planning Group and on the working group created from participants at The Conversation, an AVMA summit on animal welfare; the working group was tasked with developing strategies for ongoing dialogue within the profession. He also received the AVMA Animal Welfare Award in 2015. Dr. Peralta received his veterinary degree in 1988 from the University of Zaragoza in Spain.

"There's no doubt that the exposure that this type of award gives you is beneficial to animal welfare," Dr. Peralta said in a press release. "That external recognition provides opportunities to disseminate information and to have a broader impact worldwide."

More happenings

The WVA General Assembly—which is the annual business meeting comprising representatives of all member associations of the WVA—was held on the first day of the congress. AVMA President Dr. John de Jong represented the Association, and he and other WVA members learned more about recent WVA Council actions and upcoming events, including the following:

  • The 2020 election for WVA president-elect and councilors, which will be launched later this year. AVMA member Dr. Cassandra Tansey currently serves as one of two WVA councilors from the North American region and is eligible for renomination by the AVMA.
  • Adoption by the WVA Council of the new WVA Model Veterinarians' Oath (PDF). The model is designed to be used as a template by veterinary organizations that have not developed an oath or by associations considering revising an existing oath. It does not replace existing oaths.
  • WVA strategy and action plans for the next year.
  • The dates and location of the next WVA Congress, which will be held April 6-8, 2020, in Auckland, New Zealand.

Related JAVMA content:

Dr. René A. Carlson, 1954-2019 (May 15, 2019)

AVMA's champion for global veterinary medicine (Aug. 01, 2017)

AVMA takes international stage (Dec. 15, 2011)

World Veterinary Association: Making a world of difference (Nov. 01, 2000)