AVC team brings home awards in AVMA Animal Welfare Assessment Contest
The Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC), University of Prince Edward Island, is proud to congratulate a team of five first-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) students who recently participated in the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) virtual Animal Welfare Assessment Contest. The team of Brianna Forbes, Devyn Enwright, Alyssa McGee, Lily Mitchell, and Amy Stoyles placed first in the veterinary division interactive assessment and placed fourth overall in the veterinary division.
The contest is open to DVM students, undergraduates, and graduate students, and provides a unique educational experience. It uses hypothetical, realistic computer-viewed scenarios that students assess and evaluate using science-based methods and reasoning. This year, the AVMA selected one topic for an interactive scenario—boar studs—and two topics for individual presentations—research cats and psittacines (e.g., parrots or parakeets) as pets.
For the group interactive scenario, the students had 20 minutes to view an interactive boar stud facility as a team. They had to identify what the facility was doing well and what they could improve to enhance the welfare of the boars. They then presented their findings to a panel of expert judges.
“It was so rewarding to work on a scenario as a group and present our findings,” explains Forbes. “We were all excited about the topic, and our individual passion and interests in animal welfare really contributed to our overall findings. When it was done, we were amazed by how fast it all happened. I’m really proud of how we worked together as a team.”
The individual component of the contest saw team members working independently to review two welfare scenarios for each species—two research cat scenarios and two psittacine scenarios—without conferring with other team members. For each species, they had to select which scenario was better in terms of animal welfare and then develop a three-minute presentation defending their selection. They then made a presentation individually to a panel of judges.
“This was a really valuable experience for many reasons,” says Forbes. “I was able to take what I’ve learned in my courses and apply it to real-life scenarios. I was also able to learn new skills, meet new friends, and network, and it pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I’ll carry this experience with me for the rest of my life.”
The team was coached by Dr. Michael Cockram, chair of Animal Welfare, and Dr. Katy Proudfoot, director, Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre, with assistance from Karen Yetman, AVC Class of 2023. It was held virtually from November 19–21, 2021, and included 269 participants representing 28 universities and eight countries. Funding for the team was provided by SJDAWC and the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.