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Canine Welfare Science Forum Aims to Build Bridges to Improve Dog Welfare

Friday, May 27, 2022



Bringing people together who have differing views about issues like canine welfare and dog breeding is a passion for Dr. Candace Croney, Purdue University professor of animal behavior and well-being, who holds a joint appointment in the colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture. That’s because she sees the potential impact of collaboration between people who look past differences to recognize the vital importance of the common ground they share and the power they have to foster meaningful change by working together constructively.

As a result of Dr. Croney’s vision, Purdue University will host a first-of-its-kind collaborative meeting between dog breeders and animal shelter leaders as part of the 2022 Canine Welfare Science Forum, to be held June 24-25 at the Beck Agricultural Center in West Lafayette, Indiana. The in-person event will focus on the theme “Building Bridges to Improve Canine Welfare.” Additionally, a related but separate Research Mini-Symposium that Friday morning, will involve presentations of research findings about the welfare of dogs in commercial breeding kennels. And Friday evening’s schedule will feature a celebration of the first 100 Canine Care Certified Dog Breeders.

“The demand for dogs continues to grow fueled by numerous factors, including the myriad benefits of the human-animal bond and recently, by social distancing policies resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Croney says. “High demand for dogs has led to the emergence of diverse markets for them, many of which raise significant new animal welfare concerns and potentially worsen existing ones. Growing demand combined with constrained supply is likely to drive up costs of dog procurement and indirectly exacerbate human health and quality of life disparities that already exist as a function of socio-economic status.” Dr. Croney concludes, “It is therefore urgent for thought leaders and influencers in various pet industry sectors and in animal sheltering and rescue to discuss how to address the need for ethical and sustainable supply and sourcing of dogs and collaboratively identify potential solutions.”

The Canine Welfare Science Forum is being hosted by the Croney Research Group and features a variety of speakers who are specialists in various aspects of animal welfare. Dr. Croney will lead-off the program by introducing the topic of “Sustainable Pet Supply and the Role of Animal Welfare.” Attorney Mark Cushing, the founder and managing partner of the Animal Policy Group, LLC, then will speak on the role of the veterinary community and other stakeholders, before Dr. Andrew Rowan, of Animal Well-being International, gives a presentation about understanding dog supply/demand statistics and their welfare implications.

The afternoon agenda concludes with a panel/roundtable session bringing together thought leaders in veterinary medicine, animal welfare, and dog breeding to discuss the topic, “Sustainable, Ethical Dog Supply: What Does the Future Hold?” Panel members will include Jim Tedford, of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement; Dr. Andrew Rowan, of Animal Well-being International; Dr. Kendall Houlihan, veterinarian and assistant director of animal welfare at the American Veterinary Medical Association; Chris Fleming, co-owner of Pinnacle Pet; and Janet Donnelly, of Wyndham Kennels.

The Saturday program begins with a session led by Dr. Bret Marsh, Indiana State Veterinarian and head of the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, who will speak about challenges, progress, and opportunities for US commercial breeding. Veterinarian Denise Katz, of The LOVE Pet Project, then will give a entitled presentation, “Biosecurity for Commercial Kennels 101: Protecting Canine Health and Minimizing Disease.” Dr. Meghan Herron, senior director of behavioral medicine, education and outreach at Gigi’s Behavior Service, will conclude the morning agenda by leading a session on “Behavioral Wellness in Breeding Kennels and Shelters.”

The Saturday afternoon programming will feature a talk by Dr. Kari Ekenstedt, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine assistant professor of anatomy and genetics, on “Genetics, Health, and Welfare: What Are You Testing for and How Should That Information Inform Breeding Decisions? ” That session will be followed by a roundtable discussion on “Rehoming Responsibly: How to Create and Implement a Program That Yields Positive Dog Welfare Outcomes.” Panel members will include Abbie Moore, chief operating officer at Petco Love and former CEO at Adopt-a-Pet.com; Dr. Denise Katz, of The LOVE Pet Project; Traci Shreyer, applied animal behaviorist at Animal Behavior Counseling Services and consultant to the Croney Research Group at Purdue; and Myron Yoder, of the Indiana Council for Animal Welfare.

The mini-symposium Friday morning, which will be conducted virtually, features several presentations about what has already been learned from scientific studies, including “Establishing Science-based Standards for the Care and Welfare of Dogs in US Commercial Breeding Facilities,” by Dr. Crony; and, “Socialization and Stress; Implications for Rehoming,” by Dr. Judith Stella, of Good Dog, Inc. and former Purdue post-doctoral researcher and USDA APHIS Science Fellow. Additional talks will be given by members of the Croney Research Group, including: “Welfare Metrics and Rehoming Outcomes,” by Dr. Aitor Arrazola, postdoctoral research associate; “Caretaker Interactions,” by Joanna Rogowski, graduate research associate; and, “Maternal Care and Puppy Transport,” by Aynsley Romaniuk, PhD student. The morning program will conclude with an international speaker, Dr. Gareth Arnott, of Queens University, Belfast, who will address the topic of ”Collaboration as a Means to Address Challenges in Europe.”

Click here for more information and to register for the forum, the mini-symposium, and the Canine Care Certified First 100 Breeders Celebration. There are registration fees, but students and legislators are invited to participate for free in the mini-symposium. Students are also eligible for a reduced registration fee for the forum. There is no charge for participants in the Canine Care Certified First 100 Breeders Celebration.

Writer(s):
Kevin Doorr | pvmnews@purdue.edu

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