AVMA Welfare Focus Newsletter - Directors Corner - August 2011

Gail C. Golab, PhD, DVM, MANZCVS
Director, Animal Welfare Division

Welcome to the second issue of the AVMA's Animal Welfare Focus.

Since my last update, attendees at the AVMA Convention in St. Louis benefitted from two days of animal welfare-specific CE planned by our Animal Welfare Committee with an assist from the Division. The first day included speakers who addressed the new morality of animal welfare, its assessment, how the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee works, pain in food animals, retirement of laboratory animals, and recent directions in public policy. The day concluded with an animated discussion about nontherapeutic surgeries. Day two featured the Chairs of our Panel on Euthanasia Working Groups, who gave us a preview of the 2011 update of the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. If you missed the Convention sessions and are an AVMA member wanting to provide feedback on the draft Guidelines – we're listening – the deadline for comments has been extended to September 1, 2011.

Social activities at the Convention provided opportunities to present the 2011 AVMA awards, including the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award to Dr. Nancy Kay during the Opening Session, and the Animal Welfare and Humane Awards to Dr. Jan Shearer and Ms. Anne Lindsay, respectively, during the President's Installation Luncheon. In receiving the Charles River Prize, Dr. Steven Leary, who is also Chair of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia, was honored for his efforts to improve the welfare of laboratory animals.

Continuing the education theme, on June 23-24 we hosted a meeting of the Model Animal Welfare Curriculum Planning Group at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg. During that meeting a first draft of entry-level core competencies was developed, the group made plans for a survey to assess specific needs of colleges/schools of veterinary medicine, and discussion began on delivery options. Throughout the meeting there was an emphasis on providing resources, rather than a prescription, for curricula – this will allow flexibility and thereby increase opportunities for implementation.

While you'll find detailed information about federal and state animal welfare-related proposals in the Legislative and Regulatory Affairs section of our newsletter, it's my pleasure to share the AVMA's contributions to an animal welfare-related insert in the June 6, 2011 edition of The Hill. In addition to lending a hand to Rep. Kurt Schrader in the creation of his column on animal welfare as a Congressional priority we made sure contact information for the AVMA was readily accessible for The Hill's readers via placement of a full-page ad.

You've also probably seen us out and about a bit more. Boasting a 100% abstract acceptance rate, during the spring and throughout the summer, Committee volunteers and Division staff have represented the AVMA at regional, national and international meetings crossing species and disciplines. In addition to representation, sponsorship has been provided for the 45th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology and the 5th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group Level. And, being out and about includes the production and release of our second animal welfare policy-related video, this one on declawing domestic cats. We've made it available on YouTube.

As always, please don't forget to regularly visit our animal welfare and human-animal bond webpages. This is where you will find current versions of AVMA's policies, new and updated backgrounders, copies of responses to various national and international animal welfare regulatory proposals, and other items of interest. It is also where you will find opportunities to comment on AVMA policies and other documents under review.

Have an idea for a topic that should be addressed in our e-newsletter? Questions about what the Committees, Task Forces or Division are doing or suggestions about what they should be doing? Don't hesitate to animalwelfareatavma [dot] org (contact us) – we want to hear from you!

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