AVC’s Animal Welfare in Practice Symposium to be held virtually on March 4 and 6

Theme is animal abuse and neglect
| Atlantic Veterinary College
Inspector Leslie Hadfield with her dog, Atticus
Inspector Leslie Hadfield with her dog, Atticus

The Atlantic Veterinary College’s Animal Welfare in Practice Symposium, hosted by the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre (SJDAWC) and the AVC Animal Welfare Club, will be held virtually on March 4 and 6, 2021. The theme of the symposium is animal abuse and neglect, including the link between cruelty to animals and violence against people. 

On Thursday, March 4, at 7 pm, Inspector Leslie Hadfield, social sciences learning manager with the Atlantic Police Academy, Holland College, will give a virtual public talk about “The Violence Link: The Link Between Animal Cruelty and Human Violence.” Hadfield developed and delivers curriculum at the Atlantic Police Academy on trauma-informed de-escalation communication skills, mental health, and domestic violence. She collaborated on the National Framework for Collaborative Police Action on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV); contributed to the curriculum for "TEMPO: A contemporary model for police education and training about mental illness"; and co-authored a training manual for MANDT on autism. She is currently involved with a multi-Canadian university research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada dealing with individuals in mental health crisis and police.

“Evidence-based research conducted over decades has established that where there is animal abuse, there is a high probability that a violent crime has been, or will be, committed on a person,” said Hadfield. She will describe the cycle of domestic violence and show where veterinarians can make a difference. She will also discuss obstacles that may hinder an effective veterinary response.

Hadfield’s talk is free and is open to the public; those who wish to join are asked to register at https://upei.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VP66w2toRSCIOgM6aCUatQ

On Saturday, March 6, a virtual workshop called “Animal Abuse and Neglect” will take place from 11 am–3 pm AST. Dr. Rebecca Ledger, an animal behaviour and animal welfare scientist based in Vancouver, BC, will give a keynote address titled “Recent Advancements in Cruelty Investigations and Assessing Animal Suffering in Canada.” She teaches courses in animal behaviour, animal welfare, and animal law in various programs at Langara College, including the animal control officers’ basic training. She also teaches courses in animal behaviour, veterinary forensics, and “The Violence Link” to police organizations across Canada, and is regularly retained by humane societies, pet owners, and crown and defence counsel to provide expert opinion in legal cases involving animal cruelty and animal behaviour.

The workshop will also include a series of case studies presented by AVC faculty and the PEI Humane Society. It is open to veterinarians and technicians, veterinary students, social workers, police officers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and others who work in related fields. Registration is $40. There is no charge for students. To register, please go to https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/sjdawc-animal-welfare-in-practice-symposium-tickets-138996096065

The Animal Welfare in Practice Symposium is sponsored by the SJDAWC, with support from the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada.

About the Speakers

Inspector Leslie Hadfield
At the Atlantic Police Academy, Inspector Leslie Hadfield developed and delivers curriculum on trauma-informed de-escalation communication skills, mental health, and domestic violence. She holds a master’s degree in education and leadership, a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a diploma in human services, and a certificate in adult education. She collaborated on the National Framework for Collaborative Police Action on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV); contributed to the curriculum for "TEMPO: A contemporary model for police education and training about mental illness"; and co-authored a training manual for MANDT on autism. In 2016, she was co-recipient of the International Instructor of the Year Award presented by State and Provincial Police Academy Directors (SPPADS) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). She is currently involved with a multi-Canadian university research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada dealing with individuals in mental health crisis and police.

Dr. Rebecca Ledger
Dr. Rebecca Ledger is an animal behaviour and animal welfare scientist based in Vancouver, BC. She teaches courses in animal behaviour, animal welfare, and animal law in various programs at Langara College, including the animal control officers’ basic training. She also teaches courses in animal behaviour, veterinary forensics, and “The Violence Link” to police organizations across Canada, and is regularly retained by humane societies, pet owners, and crown and defence counsel to provide expert opinion in legal cases involving animal cruelty and animal behaviour. She is a full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, a registered clinical animal behaviourist with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council, and a member of the International Society for Applied Ethology and the Canadian Association for Professional Pet Dog Trainers, to name a few. She has served on animal welfare committees for various organizations and has published articles in many scientific journals and mainstream media. She operates a clinical animal behaviour referral clinic in BC’s Lower Mainland.

Media Contact

Anna MacDonald
Communications / AVC External Relations Officer
Marketing and Communications
902-566-6786, 902-566-0949