International Animal Welfare Training Institute kicks off at UC-Davis

Welfare group seeks partnerships with agriculture, research sectors

September 17, 2008 (published)
By Jennifer Fiala

Davis, Calif. — The University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has launched the International Animal Welfare Training Institute.

It's mission: to examine and address animal-welfare issues in many species. While the institute seeks support for welfare-related research initiatives and science-based improvements for animal well-being, it also serves to train and educate students, community members and government representatives in disaster planning and emergency response for animals.

According to group leaders, societal views of animals have evolved to a higher level of concern for animal well-being and the humane treatment of all animals, including those in agriculture.

Veterinary school faculty and agriculture industry members met Sept. 5 to develop and examine practices designed to benefit the welfare of food animals.

According to a UC-Davis news release, participants discussed the need for more science-based information to
determine the most effective way to improve animal welfare in livestock, outlining several existing programs and potential research projects, including:

- Measurement of animal stress and pain
- Length of time of animal transport and transport conditions
- Optimal training methods for producers and animal handlers
- Bridging gaps in implementation of welfare strategies
- On-farm assessments and welfare audits
- How to provide the most humane end of life for agricultural
animals, including understanding of appropriate techniques and training
in methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association
- Costs of welfare practices
- Roles of producers, animal health technicians and employees
- Demonstrating and communicating welfare successes
- Tapping outreach opportunities — for example, at auction sites.

VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting insights, personal experiences and/or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a commentary for consideration, email

Information and opinions expressed in letters to the editor are those of the author and are independent of the VIN News Service. Letters may be edited for style. We do not verify their content for accuracy.