If you attended this year’s AVMA Convention, you may have noticed a few new things. No, we’re not talking about the Cheap Trick concert or the great line-up of continuing education courses; we’re talking about the new veterinary exhibit on wheels that may be coming to a city near you!
On July 20, AVMA, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and Zoetis, launched a 1,000-square foot interactive science exhibit—Animal Connections: Our Journey Together—to teach the general public about the complex bond between animals and humans and examine the role veterinarians fulfill in sustaining the relationship between humans, animals and the ecosystem. Marking AVMA’s 150th anniversary, the free, mobile museum, housed on a semi-truck, features learning stations, films, touch screen exhibits and three-dimensional settings to explore topics about animals in the home, on the farm, in the wild, at the zoo and in the veterinary clinic.
The exhibit proved to be a hit with convention attendees and their families, and even caught the eye of veterinarian and U.S. Congressman Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), who came to Chicago for the conference.
“This is a great, interactive way to educate children and the public about the important role that animals have to society, and that we, as veterinarians, have in ensuring their health and welfare and the health and safety of the public,” Rep. Yoho said.
Rep. Yoho, who mainly practiced veterinary medicine on large animals, enjoyed playing the various games within the exhibit, including one in the farm portion of the exhibit that shows how much protein and vitamins to give cows in order to increase their milk productivity. “So, that’s how you do it!” he said chuckling.
The congressman also diagnosed a sick pig in the vet clinic: “Oh no, I hope you don’t have to put the thermometer up his rear end,” he laughed, while checking out the pig’s symptoms. In the home portion of the exhibit, he took a quiz to find his ideal pet: a sporting dog!
“As a veterinarian, it is exciting to see an exhibit like this that will not only educate the public about ongoing issues in veterinary medicine, but also attract the next generation of veterinarians to the field,” Rep. Yoho said.
Although a freshman in Congress, since his arrival Rep. Yoho has been a champion for veterinary medicine, which has included his efforts in launching the House Veterinary Medicine Caucus in April along with U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.). The caucus, which now stands at 13 members, is helping to build awareness at the federal level of the critical role that the veterinary profession plays in research, public health, animal health and welfare, food safety and the overall economy.
The AVMA mobile exhibit is currently visiting select parks throughout the Chicago Parks District, but is slated to visit other cities, including New York City and Washington, D.C., later this year. For more information about the exhibit, visit the Animal Connections website.