AVC students win big at the 2023 AVMA Animal Welfare Assessment Contest
Veterinary students from the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) won five awards at the 2023 American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Animal Welfare Assessment Contest.
The contest took place at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls on November 18, with 232 registrants representing 24 universities from across North America and Europe. AVC sent two teams of five students each to the competition. Samantha Shute, Kyra Norton, Abigail Penney-Wiseman, Sinead Riordon, and Madison King comprised the first-year team, and Catherine LeBlond, Gabrielle Doiron, Veronica Sohasky, Tsukasa Iwamoto, and Lillie Black the second-year team. Also included was Kalya Dalpe, an undergraduate student from UPEI, which is the first time a non-veterinary UPEI student competed.
The contest consisted of individual student and team assessments. The individual assessments included farmed bison, cage-free laying hens, and tortoises in a zoo. The students prepared an oral presentation of their animal welfare assessment for a panel of animal welfare experts. Top-five awards were provided for individual student scenario scores, team scenario scores, and overall team scores.
“We were able to gain experience with animals that we were not familiar with,” Doiron, Class of 2026, stated. “It’s a fun way to learn a lot about species that we have not been able to work with in our normal veterinary curriculum.”
The AVC teams brought home five awards in the veterinary division, including placing first in the team scenario, fifth in overall team, and first in the team scenario. In the overall individual student scenario, LeBlond took second, and Penney-Wiseman finished third.
“It was a great opportunity to put into practice what we were learning in our animal behavior and welfare class,” said Penney-Wiseman, who is in the Class of 2027.
Funding for the students to participate was made possible by the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre (SJDAWC) at the AVC, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.
“I’m so proud of all of the students who competed at the AVMA Animal Welfare Assessment Contest,” said Dr. Katy Proudfoot, coach of the teams and director of the SJDAWC. “They worked really hard to prepare for the contest, and I am thrilled to see so much student interest and commitment to animal welfare.”
The students also enjoyed interactive tours at the Minnesota Zoo, Jon-De Farm, and Sunnyside Farm as part of the weekend activities. Congratulations to all the AVC team members.