Nearly 200 veterinarians and veterinary students gathered last month for a first-of-its-kind, AVMA-sponsored forum focused exclusively on having a discussion about animal welfare and its practical, societal and ethical implications. After the two-day session ended, all agreed that the dialogue must – and will – continue.
The gathering, titled “Can You Hear Me Now? The Conversation,” focused on how veterinarians approach animals’ welfare and why. During the program, an impressive group of internationally renowned speakers shared information about the scientific, social, political, market and legal aspects of how and why animal welfare decisions are made. In doing so, they helped attendees bolster the foundation of their animal welfare knowledge.
Attendees then had the opportunity to apply their knowledge to challenges involving a range of species and environments through roundtable exercises in problem-solving and consensus building. Through it all, participants gathered information about the needs of species they don’t regularly diagnose and treat, while also obtaining valuable insights about welfare challenges they themselves face from those with an outside perspective.
Our hope is that The Conversation initiated a journey of learning and dialogue that will continue well into the future. Having better-informed and more broadly shared conversations about animals’ use and care will encourage and better equip us to fully embrace our role not only as experts in animal health, but as primary protectors of animals’ welfare and advocates for sound public policy at all levels.
We’re in the process of taking content from The Conversation and converting it into resources that will be made available to all of our members. We’ll keep you posted as things develop.