Equine and Animal Welfare Symposium Takes Shape

As animal agriculture comes under scrutiny and animal welfare issues are hotly debated, the time to become educated to proactively address animal welfare issues is now.

"Animal welfare is a prominent issue in Ohio and the United States and even the world. It's a topic of interest to producers, consumers, veterinarians, health-care professionals, legislators and anyone who has a stake in sustainable animal agriculture," said Naomi Botheras, animal welfare program specialist for Ohio State University Extension in the Department of Animal Sciences. "Because it is such an important topic that affects a lot of people, it's important to become educated about the issue, participate in the conversation and get involved in the decision-making process."

Informed decisions about animal welfare that will positively address the needs of animals, producers, and consumers are based on understanding a wide range of perspectives. To better understand and proactively address farm animal welfare issues, the Department of Animal Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University are holding an Animal Welfare Symposium, "Building Partnerships to Address Animal Agriculture," on Friday, Oct. 16 at the university's Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Well-known animal welfare experts and social scientists from around the world will discuss the scientific, ethical, legal and social contexts embedded in the animal welfare debate.

"The symposium is an opportunity for people to hear a wide range of animal welfare perspectives, hear what other people are doing and discuss what needs to be done. It's also a chance to learn from other countries about how they have handled animal welfare issues, so we don't have to reinvent the wheel or more importantly so we don't make the same mistakes they've made," said Botheras who is co-organizing the event.

The event is designed for food animal producers, consumers, veterinarians, and anyone with an interest in food animal production and products or sustainable animal agriculture. The symposium is an opportunity for those interested to:

  • Participate in a balanced, thought-provoking discussion about animal welfare.
  • Obtain a better understanding of animal welfare issues facing animal agriculture.
  • Gain the information and the insights to make informed decisions.
  • Learn how legislation, self-regulation, or auditing may impact animal production and handling methods.
  • Hear what the science says about the welfare of animals in different housing systems.
Featured speakers and topics include:
  • Wes Jamison, associate professor of Communication at Palm Beach Atlantic University, will review the social issues underlying animal welfare concerns.
  • Janice Swanson, professor of Animal Behavior and Welfare and director of Animal Welfare at Michigan State University, will examine the differing opinions for self-regulation, legislation or auditing of livestock and poultry production practices.
  • Ruth Newberry, associate professor, Center for the Study of Animal Well-being at Washington State University, will explain what the science currently tells us about the welfare of laying hens in different housing systems and what research still needs to be done.
  • Harold Gonyou, research scientist, Prairie Swine Centre, Canada, will explain what the science currently tells us about the welfare of gestating sows in different housing systems and what research still needs to be done.
  • Paul Hemsworth, director of the Australian Animal Welfare Science Centre, will discuss lessons that can be learned from the Australian approach to addressing farm animal welfare.
More event details and registration information is available online at http://vet.osu.edu/AnimalWelfareSymposium.

For more information, contact Melissa Weber, director of communications and marketing for the College of Veterinary Medicine, at 614/292-3752 or weber.254@osu.edu.

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