Second Annual CAWS Symposium Hosted by the Center for Animal Welfare Science

June 3, 2016

by Kelsey Johnson, PVM Summer Communications Intern

The Center for Animal Welfare Science (CAWS), a shared effort between Purdue Veterinary Medicine and Purdue Agriculture, hosted its second annual CAWS Symposium on Wednesday, May 18. Over 130 registered attendees from as far away as New Jersey, Colorado, the District of Columbia, and Texas joined CAWS in Stewart Center to hear experts and industry professionals discuss current animal welfare challenges and strategies to address them in agricultural, companion, and laboratory animal species.

The symposium began with welcomes from PVM’s Dean Willie Reed, Glen W. Sample Dean of Agriculture Jay Akridge, and CAWS Director, Dr. Candace Croney, followed by the keynote address on “Improving Animal Welfare: Future Drivers” given by University of Calgary’s Dr. Ed Pajor, professor of animal welfare and leader of the Animal Pain and Animal Welfare group at UC Veterinary Medicine. Next, Letty Medina, DVM and Director of Animal Welfare and Compliance at AbbVie, addressed the topic, “Laboratory Animal Welfare: Challenges, Priorities, and the Need for More Research.” Stephanie Cottee, Ph. D., and Global Poultry Welfare Leader at Cargill, addressed “Animal Welfare—Corporate Challenges and Global Perspectives” and Dr. Andrew Rowan, President and CEO of Humane Society International and former Director of Tufts’s Center for Animals and Public Policy, discussed, “Companion Animal Welfare—Challenges and Global Perspectives.”

Doctors Pajor, Medina, Cottee, and Rowan then participated in a Global/Industry Animal Welfare Panel, answering questions from the audience about topics such as canine sterilization and euthanasia in Sweden, how sustainability affects rate of growth in chickens, the difference between genomics and GMOs, the welfare of animals during slaughter, the importance of transparency in the industry, and the adoption of research animals. When asked about the process involved in sharing current animal welfare practices across the industry, both Dr. Medina and Dr. Cottee agreed that there is work to be done. “It’s hard to do without fulltime staff dedicated to promoting up-to-date practices or a systematic way of organizing information,” Dr. Cottee said.

In the afternoon, there was time for symposium attendees to network and participate in break-out sessions, as well as see research being conducted by graduate students at Purdue during a poster session. Later, Dr. Janice Siegford, Assistant Professor in the department of Animal Science at Michigan State University (MSU), discussed the topic, “Using Behavioral Phenotypes to Improve Genetic Selection in Pigs,” followed by Dr. Chris Wolf, professor of agricultural, food and resource economics at MSU, addressed ideas regarding, “Public and Farmer Perceptions of Cattle Welfare in the United States: Implications for Demand and Policy.” Dr. Yvonne Thaxton, professor and Director of the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing at the University of Arkansas, presented on the topic, “Stand up for Animal Welfare: Talking to the Public.” The symposium concluded after an address from PVM’s Professor Emeritus of Animal Behavior, Dr. Andrew Luescher, on the topic, “Man and Dog, a Tenuous Covenant: Psychological Suffering of Dogs in a Human Environment.”

Click here to view the complete CAWS Symposium program. More information about the relationship between CAWS and Indiana’s dog breeders can be found by clicking here, in an interview with CAWS Director, Dr. Candace Croney.

CAWS Symposium attendees discuss PVM graduate students’ research at the poster session. Featured are Amy Robinson-Junker (far left) and Megan LaFollette (center).

Purdue Veterinary Medicine Professor Emeritus of Animal Behavior, Dr. Andrew Luescher, and Director of the Center for Animal Welfare Science, Dr. Candace Croney.

Writer: Kelsey Johnson,

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