The eighth annual Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Competition hosted at Michigan State University (MSU) on November 1-2 showcased a group of aspiring animal welfare experts. For the second time, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) sponsored a division of that competition for veterinary students. Students may participate in team and/or individual events, as well as educational seminars and a poster session.

Dr. Gail Golab, director of the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, praised the contest for helping students recognize and develop the analytical skills and understanding of ethics necessary for success in the field of animal welfare.

"Making good animal welfare decisions is challenging because many factors-both animal and human-come into play," explains Dr. Golab. "To be successful in the competition, veterinary students must familiarize themselves with various physiological and behavioral indicators of animal welfare and critically evaluate how well a given situation suits the animal. They have to look holistically at facilities, care practices, and management, and also consider the role that social ethics play in determining what is good and poor welfare. The scenarios presented during the contest are realistic and help prepare veterinary students for the challenges they will face when they are asked to provide similar recommendations after graduation."

This year's on-farm team assessment considered the welfare of layer chickens, turkeys and Coturnix quail. Students participating as individuals evaluated the welfare of Przewalski horses (Takhi), domestic cats, and dairy cattle from information provided via PowerPoint presentations.

Winners of the competition in the veterinary division were: Jennafer Glaesemann, Iowa State University, who took 1st; Kelly Pinner, University of Guelph, 2nd; Kasia Sulima, University of Guelph, 3rd; Rachel Cohen, University of Missouri, 4th; and Cia Johnson, University of Missouri, 5th. Winning teams, in order, were: the University of Guelph, Iowa State University, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Missouri. Winners at the graduate student level were all from the University of Guelph, which also won the team award in that division. They included Maggie Gooding, 1st; Stephanie Ellison, 2nd; Marisa Erasmus, 3rd; and Kristi Bovey, 4th. In the undergraduate division, the winners were: Katelynn Lebbins, MSU, 1st; Laurie Onyskow, Purdue, 2nd; Emelie Evenson, MSU, 3rd; Ashley Kelly, Purdue, 4th; and Matt Hasenjager, MSU, 5th. Winning teams, in order, were: Purdue, MSU, and the University of Wisconsin, followed by two teams from the University of Guelph.

American Veterinary Medical Association

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