Animal Welfare: Students

This page provides information about opportunities for veterinary students that can help them prepare for leadership in the field of animal welfare.

Featured Topic

The 17th Annual Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest will take place November 2017 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. We hope you will join us for this unique, interactive event. To learn more, visit the Contest website:

Join SAVMA (Student AVMA)

Veterinary students are eligible to join the Student AVMA if they are enrolled in a full-time program of study leading directly to a professional veterinary degree, granted by a school or college of veterinary medicine.

Student Externships

If you have a special interest in animal well-being and/or the human-animal bond, then you may enjoy being an extern in the Animal Welfare Division (AWD) of the AVMA. The AWD assists the AVMA in meeting its strategic goal to be “a leading advocate for, and an authoritative, science-based resource on animal welfare.

Educational Opportunities

Literature Reviews

 AVMA literature reviews are science-based, peer-reviewed literature summaries of select topics relevant to animal health and welfare. AVMA literature reviews are not AVMA policy, and generally do not draw conclusions; they simply report what we know from the literature or other verifiable data about a given topic.

AVMA Convention: Continuing Education in Animal Welfare

 The 2017 AVMA Annual Convention will be held July 21-25 in Indianapolis. This year's meeting includes a 4-day track dedicated to continuing education in animal welfare.

 SAVMA Symposium

 SAVMA Symposium is an educational opportunity that exposes students to a variety of topics outside their typical curriculum, while offering unique networking experiences and career building skills.The three day program consists of interactive wet labs, lectures, academic and athletic competitions, an exhibit hall, and the SAVMA House of Delegates bi-annual meeting.

Reaching Up

The Reaching UP program aims to positively impact animal health, animal welfare and public health in underserved populations by providing high-quality, high-volume (HQHV) spay and neuter and targeted preventive care services in underserved areas. To compliment the surgical team​ made up of AVMA member veterinarians specifically trained in HQHV spay and neuter, the involvement of volunteer veterinarians, veterinary students and technicians facilitates our ability to tap opportunities for community education and provision of preventive care. Exposure to these unique communities demonstrates how differences in experiences, traditions, values, and socioeconomic conditions can affect the veterinarian’s ability to deliver veterinary care; foster creativity in delivering education and services; and increase appreciation of “One Health”.

Veterinary students who are SAVMA members can apply to serve as volunteers at Reaching UP clinics. Student volunteers have the opportunity to interact and spend time with local health officials to better understand animal and public health and safety issues in populations with limited access to veterinary care.

Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest (AWJAC)

The Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest (AWJAC) aims to provide a unique educational experience while strengthening reasoning and communication skills. The AWJAC teaches students to assess the welfare of animals in a variety of settings using a science-based approach. Students are given the opportunity to weigh evidence and present sound evaluations. This contest ensures that tomorrow's leaders in veterinary medicine and the animal sciences enhance their knowledge of animal welfare and are able to convey information about it effectively.

The AVMA's Animal Welfare Conversation on LinkedIn