SJDAWC winter news 2016

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SJDAWC News Number 32—Winter 2016

SIR JAMES DUNN ANIMAL WELFARE CENTRE­­ at the Atlantic Veterinary College


NEW Winter Webinar Series— February/MARCH 2016

CE for veterinarians and technicians

Also in this issue

See page 8.

Honourable Eugene F. Whelan Green Hat Award 2015

Applied equine behaviour ..... p2,3

Care of wildlife—update ....... p7

Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Graduate Scholarship ............ p9

The Honourable Eugene F. Whelan Green Hat Foundation—totaling almost $5.9 million Award, the highest honour that the Atlantic to June 2015—provided the secure funding Veterinary College bestows, was established that has formed the basis of the Centre’s in 2000 to recognize individuals who have development. In particular, the late Dr. had a significant and positive impact on the Tom Taylor saw the value of creating and Atlantic Veterinary College and veterinary supporting a science-based centre dedicated medicine in Atlantic Canada. On October 2, to animal welfare in a veterinary school. Continued on page 6 the 2015 Green Hat Award was presented to the trustees of the Christofor Foundation—Michael and Cynthia Doyle, the late Dr. Tom Taylor (posthumously), Esma Taylor, and Tom Taylor— for their consistent financial support and encouragement of AVC’s Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre, which began in 1994 as the Animal Welfare Unit through the generosity of Lady Beaverbrook. Through the stewardship of the trustees, continuous support from the (back) Trustees Tom Taylor and Michael Doyle, SJDAWC Coordinator Dr. Alice Christofor Foundation and Crook, Dean Dr. Greg Keefe; (front) trustees Esma Taylor and Cynthia Doyle the associated Sir James Dunn with 2015 Honourable Eugene F. Whelan Green Hat Award

Dr. Pearson using positive training (clicker training) with a horse that required regular eye examinations and treatments.

From the

Coordinator’s Desk

Gemma Pearson, BVMS, MRCVS, was the keynote speaker at the eleventh annual Animal Welfare in Practice conference this fall at the Atlantic

Welcome to the Winter 2016 edition of SJDAWC News, the newsletter of the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre at the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island. In this issue, we are very pleased to introduce our new Winter Welfare Webinar Series (February/March 2016) on page 8. We also celebrate award winners, recent graduate student activities, and passage of PEI’s new Animal Welfare Act (p.11). As well, you will find information from our recent conference on applied equine behavior, and summaries of projects that were completed since our last newsletter. We welcome your feedback at

Veterinary College. Dr. Pearson runs the Equine Behaviour Service at the Dick Vet Equine Hospital, University of Edinburgh, UK. Dr. Pearson’s clinical and research interests lie in the application of equine learning theory to deal with difficult horses in the veterinary environment. She was joined by speaker Dr. Laurie McDuffee, Large Animal Surgery, AVC, who recently completed her sabbatical leave studying the incorporation of equine learning theory to promote humane handling of equine patients.

Please let us know at if you would like to receive the newsletter by email (in full colour!) and be on our email list for upcoming events. To send feedback or learn how you can support the Centre, please go to or write to:

In her talk on Friday, September 18,

The Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre Atlantic Veterinary College, UPEI 550 University Avenue Charlottetown, PEI, Canada C1A 4P3

further information about learning

“Demystifying the horse whisperer— how horses really learn,” Dr. Pearson explained equine learning theory and its application to basic obedience responses. The programme on Saturday included theory and its implementation in everyday veterinary practice to overcome problem behaviours in horses and improve veterinarian-horse interactions.

All donations are tax deductible.



Animal Welfare in Practice—September 18–19, 2015

Applied Equine Behaviour

Snuggles (pony with an aversion to getting onto the scale) beforehand and, after a brief behavioural modification session with Dr. Pearson, standing on the scale.

There was a practical workshop on Saturday afternoon with demonstrations by Dr. Pearson on

SOME Key messages from the conference Equitation science combines equine

There are multiple problems with

learning theory, biomechanics,

the use of punishment, including

ethology and cognition, psychology,

desensitization of the horse over time

and sport science. It identifies what

to the punishment used; the creation of

can be defined and measured, and

fear associations with the person using

promotes an objective evidence-based

the punishment; and the precise timing

understanding of the welfare of horses

required for the horse to associate the

There was tremendous interest in the

during training and competition by

punishment with the specific behaviour.

conference, with approximately 140

applying quantitative scientific methods

A horse may also show an extreme

attendees at the public lecture on

to identify what training techniques are

(dangerous) reaction to a punishment,

the Friday night and about 80 at the

ineffective or result in suffering.

which the owner may unintentionally

overcoming aversions in horses that are resistant to receiving oral medications and to walking onto a scale, as well as opportunities for conference participants to try some simple positive training techniques with horses.

sessions on the Saturday, including veterinarians, owners/trainers, animal scientists, and veterinary and other students. Feedback since the conference has been extremely positive. PDFs of the speakers’ presentations are available at The conference was co-hosted by the SJDAWC and the AVC Animal Welfare Club, with generous support from the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada. Watch the SJDAWC website in the New Year for announcements about the fall 2016 “Animal Welfare in Practice”

Working with horses can be dangerous. Understanding equine behavior can

reinforce if the horse’s behaviour causes the punishment to stop.

help veterinarians avoid injury to

Learning to read horses’ behaviour can

themselves and others, and promote

help veterinarians (and others) adjust

better recoveries in their patients. Using

their handling skills appropriately. It is

behavior modification is often not only

always very important to monitor the

safer, but it accomplishes results faster

arousal level of the horse.

than traditional restraint methods.

Unpredictable, dangerous behaviour

Behaviour modification may include

may be the result of inconsistent or

positive reinforcement, removal

conflicting signals. “There are no ‘bad’

reinforcement, and shaping (i.e., reward

horses, only confused ones.” (G Pearson)

basic steps initially and then more complex responses each time).


Winter 2016


COMPLETED PROJECTS 2015 Below are brief summaries for one SJDAWC-funded research project and one service project completed in 2015. Scientific publications since the SJDAWC Spring 2015 newsletter was published are listed on page 10. Publications are also listed on the SJDAWC website as they become available. (

RESEARCH Welfare issues associated with the transport and slaughter of horses M Cockram, I Dohoo

Most of the horses slaughtered in Canada are imported from the USA. An analysis of USDA owner/shipper certificates showed that in 2009, horses from 16 northern states in the USA were transported to six slaughter plants in Canada. Thirty-two per cent of loads were from auction centres, 33% from feedlots, and 35% from horse collection centres. Thirty-six percent of horses were transported for less than 6 hours, 11% for 6-18 hours, 13% for 18-24 hours, 25% for 24-36 hours, 9% for 36-48 hours, and apparently 6% for greater than 48 hours. The welfare issues associated with the transport of 3,940 horses from 150 loads were studied at a slaughter plant in Canada. Five per cent of the horses arrived from within Canada (median journey duration was 12 hours), and 95% arrived from five states in the USA (median journey durations 15-36 hours). Seven per cent of horses from Canada and 1% of horses from the USA arrived with preexisting conditions. Five per cent of the horses had a body condition score of less than 3 (scale 1-5), and more than 1% were lame. Six horses from the USA (0.16%) arrived in a non-ambulatory condition (unable to stand). In 100 horses from 40 loads studied in detail, 33% had surface injuries identified by visual assessment, 48% had areas of raised surface temperature identified by thermography, and 72% had bruising identified by carcass assessment. Multivariable regression analyses were used to examine the associations between journey characteristics and welfare outcomes. There was a significant association between journey duration and the number of horses per load with surface injuries. The plasma total protein concentration increased with journey duration. Fewer severe welfare problems were identified than in similar studies



conducted previously in the USA. For example, there were no dead-onarrivals and there were fewer obvious issues with the fitness of the horses for transportation. However, the presence of even a small number of non-ambulatory horses on arrival at the slaughter plant is of welfare significance. Long journeys were associated with some negative welfare outcomes that could potentially be mitigated by changes to management practices. Even without changes in the origin and destination of horses transported for slaughter, the effects of journey duration on the risks of dehydration and injury could be partly mitigated by changes to management practices. The risk of dehydration could be reduced by ensuring that before the start of the journey, the horses had sufficient access to drinking water and an appropriate diet to assist in water retention, that the horses were offered drinking water during the journey, and that they were not exposed to high temperatures during the journey. Injuries could potentially be mitigated by changes to management practices to reduce the occurrence of biting and kicking, by increased padding in trailers, and by increased monitoring of injury prevalence and the provision of feedback to buyers, drivers, and lairage personnel. In comparison, relatively few welfare issues were identified in horses transported for slaughter in Iceland. The effects of transport on physiological responses and the severity of bruising were relatively minor. However, the handling, transport, and lairage of the horses resulted in injury and signs of exertion or stress that were not compatible with optimal management practices. Mild dehydration in adults might have been associated with restricted access to drinking water during lairage of lactating mares. Identification of the main factors that have the potential to affect the welfare of horses transported to slaughter can provide information that can be used in the formulation of best practice guidelines to mitigate risk factors and to address public

concerns over welfare issues affecting the transport of horses to slaughter. In addition, this information can assist with evidence-based resource allocation within the horse slaughter industry, better quality assurance, and improved productivity. Four publications from this project have been accepted/published in peer-reviewed journals (see details on page 10). The results have been presented at conferences and discussed with the industry.

SERVICE PROJECTS The SJDAWC funds several service projects, which may receive renewed funding. Below is a two-year report for one of these projects, for which funding was renewed for 2015–2017.

AVC humane dog training program 2013–2015 AM Carey (AVC), R MacLean (PEI Humane Society)

Dr. Norma Guy started this program in 2001. For 10 years, she worked to expand the program and cultivate a strong working relationship between the Atlantic Veterinary College and the PEI Humane Society (PEI HS). Since 2010, Dr. Carey and her team have built on Dr. Guy’s tremendous work. The program provides extensive benefits to dogs at the shelter, and educational benefits to AVC students who participate as trainers. Dogs at the PEI HS are assessed prior to moving to the adoption floor. The student trainers use the formal behavioural assessments established in 2007 by Dr. Guy to evaluate each dog’s reaction to specific situations, e.g., meeting a stranger; being approached by a person while eating or enjoying a treat; and general handling including feet, mouth and ears. These assessments have been modified over the years to ensure they reflect the most accurate information available about shelter behavioural assessments. These assessments occasionally detect a previously unreported behavioural issue, but are perhaps most beneficial in that they give a standardized assessment for all the trainers who will be working with

the dogs during their stay at the shelter. Important information regarding a dog’s behaviour may also have been provided by the individual who relinquishes the dog. A twenty-minute appointment is scheduled with owners when they are surrendering a dog to the shelter in order to obtain as much of the dog’s medical and behavioural history as possible. Necessary information is then provided to potential adopters, both through the trainers and the Adoption Counselor, in order to increase the likelihood of a successful match. Of course, each month there are many stray dogs entering the shelter (often 2-3 times the number of surrendered dogs), and these dogs do not have the benefit of a behavioural history. This increases the importance of the information the humane dog training team is able to gain from the behavioural assessments. Information from the behavioural assessments is also used to identify particular issues that require behavioural modification. The team works together to create plans for this modification, which are carried out using the operant method of conditioning with a clicker. If work has been started with a particular dog, this information is communicated to potential adopters, along with an explanation of how to continue to modify behaviour at home. Clicker training is a positive reinforcement technique that pairs the use of a “click” sound with a reward (usually food). The animal quickly learns that the click means a reward. The clicker is more reliable than verbal markers because it produces a unique and consistent sound. It is also more accurate at marking and capturing desired behaviour, which expedites learning and behavioural

modification. Unlike punishment, which only tells animals what we don’t want and can be aversive, clicker training allows us to tell animals that they’re doing something right. Therefore, in addition to teaching behaviours, clicker training builds confidence and opens up the dog’s mind to learning, exploration, and curiosity. The student trainers take advantage of all of this, and so use clicker training as a source of mental enrichment for the dogs. This may be something as simple as teaching a dog to sit, or touch a target with their nose. These exercises are more than “just tricks”; they teach dogs to think, make them happy, and give them an important break from stressors at the shelter. To provide community outreach and education, trainers attend most public events hosted by the PEI HS to demonstrate humane dog training practices and showcase certain dogs. Such events include microchip clinics open to the public and visits to various community groups to discuss how people can enrich their dog’s life in their own homes. AVC trainers are also important participants in the Dr. Tim Ogilvie AVC Vet Camp, both when the campers visit the shelter and during a separate demonstration of clicker training at the College.

Veterinary student trainer Mary-Claire Sanderson and Judy

Aids used in positive training

Student trainers also discuss behaviour one-onone with potential adopters and new adoptive families. In this way, they can address some of the frustrating and difficult issues that sometimes arise, and help owners navigate these waters in positive and effective ways. This support system helps to keep dogs in homes, improves the human-animal bond, and provides another opportunity

to provide information on positive reinforcement training. An additional benefit of this project is the impact on veterinary students’ education. A close relationship has developed between AVC and the shelter. This has extended the fostering and volunteer network for the shelter, and many more students gain exposure to shelter medicine and behaviour education. This will have far-reaching effects on their careers, and in fact, there have been several students who plan to pursue careers in shelter medicine. The humane dog training team is very pleased with the positive impact of this project for the dogs at the shelter, as well as its influence on veterinary students and in the PEI community.

OTHER CURRENT SERVICE PROJECTS Other current service projects are listed below. Each one is carried out in cooperation with an Island community group, and provides direct benefits for animals and educational benefits for veterinary students. Please visit for more information. • Medical and surgical care of homeless animals (P Moak, with the PEI Humane Society) • Health management services for Handibear Hills Equine Sanctuary, Inc. (W Duckett) • Health management services for PEI Equine Retirement Society, Inc. (W Duckett) • Clinical care of wildlife at AVC (J Spears) (additional information page 7) • Two complementary feral cat neutering programmes (P Foley, PEI Cat Action Team), one funded through the SJDAWC and the other by the Pegasus Family Foundation through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Winter 2016


The Honourable Eugene F. Whelan Green Hat Award 2015 (Continued from page 1)

Over the last 21 years, through the SJDAWC, the Foundation has supported 79 research projects with practical implications to improve animal welfare (total $2.5 million), 20 service projects with direct and immediate benefits to animals and teaching benefits for AVC students (total $1.4 million), and the establishment of a Chair in Animal Welfare at AVC (total $1 million), as well as the annual Christofor Award, the SJDAWC’s Student Project Fund, the annual Animal Welfare in Practice conference, and many other initiatives. Twenty-nine graduate students have been supported partially or wholly by the Foundation, and the research performed has resulted in at least 74 research publications. Dr. Jeffrey Wichtel, former Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at AVC and now Dean of the Ontario Veterinary College, calls AVC’s relationship with the Foundation the “most sustained, productive and mutually satisfying collaboration in support of research in the history of the College.” In her letter of support for the nomination, Marla Somersall, Executive Director of the PEI Humane Society, expressed the Society’s gratitude for the range of services they are able to provide to homeless animals in the PEI community through partnership with the SJDAWC through the Centre’s service projects. Support for the SJDAWC from the Christofor Foundation was renewed recently with a commitment of $1.5 million over the next five years. Through the SJDAWC and its initiatives to enhance animal welfare in Atlantic Canada and well beyond, the Board of the Christofor Foundation has made a strong and lasting contribution to supporting research, teaching, and service at AVC. The College is very pleased to award the 2015 Honourable Eugene F. Whelan Green Hat Award to trustees Michael and Cynthia Doyle, the late Dr. Tom Taylor (posthumously), Esma Taylor, and Tom Taylor.



Dr. Marti Hopson, Veterinary Coordinator, Chinook Project

Chinook PROJECT UPDATE The Chinook Project continues to travel each summer at the invitation of remote communities in Canada’s North to provide free veterinary services, including vaccinations, deworming, wellness checks, spaying and castration surgeries, and medical treatments as needed. In June 2015, the Project completed its tenth year of clinics, with a team of five veterinary students, one veterinary technician, and two veterinarians travelling to Natuashish (population approximately 800), an Innu community in northern Labrador. The team tended to 86 animals—80 dogs and six cats—in the four days of clinics. The team had also planned to hold clinics in Sheshatshiu, another Innu community, but four solid days of fog kept them grounded in Natuashish, where they used the extra time to see additional patients and provide some humane education on animal care at a local school.

Travel and shipping of supplies to the North is very costly—we gratefully acknowledge the generous funding partners and donors listed on page 12. In particular, we value the generous support of the Newfoundland and Labrador government, especially Dr. Hugh Whitney (Chief Veterinary Officer), and Dr. Becky Jackson and the Valley Veterinary Clinic. Local support is essential to the success of the project. We are very grateful to the local organizers and the Natuashish Band Council who arranged accommodations, food, and volunteers to help with administrative duties, as well as a clinic facility in the local fire hall. Please visit the Chinook Project ( to read students’ personal reflections about their experiences in Natuashish. Planning is under way for Chinook clinics in 2016.

Caring for Wildlife at the Atlantic Veterinary College By Fiep de Bie, wildlife technician

The wildlife service at the Atlantic Veterinary College provides acute medical care of sick and injured wildlife. The wildlife team consists of a part-time wildlife technician (Fiep de Bie), an animal care attendant (Gina Mortimer), small animal rotating veterinary interns, two veterinary clinicians (Dr. Jonathan Spears and Dr. Hans Gelens) who donate their time, and many dedicated volunteers. In 2014, the service was presented with 136 cases; in 2015, to November 10, there have been 210 admissions. Wildlife care is a 24/7/365 commitment and very much a team effort. Animals are brought to AVC by the provincial Fish & Wildlife division, Parks Canada, and members of the public. Upon arrival at AVC, the animals receive first-responder medical care by an intern on small animal medicine duty. From there, the wildlife team and students take over the case. All of this is provided at no cost to the public, through the financial support of the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre, inkind support of the Atlantic Veterinary College, and volunteer services as above.

In July, we had three Bald Eagles in our care. One, referred to us from New Brunswick, required lead poisoning testing. The eagle is now back in New Brunswick at the Atlantic Wildlife Institute and doing well. Another eagle was found in a field near Brudenell, unable to fly. After initial care, it was sent to the Cobequid Rehabilitation Centre in Nova Scotia (a collaborating institution) to gain flight muscle strength, and was released back on PEI at the end of September. (See video at News/Local/2015-09-29/article-4293739/ Sick-eagle-back-in-skies-over-Brudenell/1). A third eagle was found injured on the Bangor Road with a tail wound. After being in our care for a month, it was successfully released in August.

Release of a Common Goldeneye, February 2015

2015 started with an especially harsh winter for wildlife. Sea ducks such as Greater Scaup and Common Goldeneye were found in emaciated condition around causeways and bridges, as the ice closed in on them and limited their access to food. Spring and summer brought a large number and variety of cases, including everything from orphaned crows and red squirrels to animals hit by vehicles. Every case is worth the effort and provides a learning opportunity to all involved.

We also cared for three Red-tailed Hawks this year, all of which were released successfully. Of particular interest was a hawk that was ready for release after its foot lacerations had healed, but it was missing flight feathers. Dr. Kathleen MacAulay, a 2015 AVC graduate, performed a feather transplant procedure. The hawk could fly better immediately and was released the same week. The wildlife service also provides opportunities to educate the public and students about wildlife issues. We are grateful to continue the clinical wildlife care service, with the support of our sponsors, and to collaborate with the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Parks Canada, PEI Department of Communities, Land and Environment, and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres in the Maritimes: Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Atlantic Wildlife Institute, and Hope for Wildlife. This fall the wildlife service received a significant grant from the PEI Wildlife Conservation Fund for repairs and renovations to the outdoor flight cages in order to create additional flying space for raptors. The wildlife team considers it a privilege to work with wildlife and share this experience with students at the Atlantic Veterinary College.

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Dr. Kathleen MacAulay, AVC Class of 2015, and Gina Mortimer examine a Great Horned Owl

Release of Northern Saw-whet Owl, April 2015

This Bald Eagle was found injured, and spent almost a month at AVC. Upon release in August, the eagle flew out of its cage and maintained flight until it disappeared on the horizon, a beautiful sight!

Winter 2016


NEW! WINTER WEBINAR SERIES–February/March 2016 For busy veterinarians, the cost and time involved in meeting annual CE (Continuing Education) requirements can be a strain. The winter of 2015 certainly reminded us in the Maritimes of the challenges of travelling to CE—for both speakers and participants. This winter, the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre at the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) invites veterinarians and technicians from far and wide to join us for affordable and practical CE—from the comfort of your home or office! Delivered by Dr. Caroline Hewson—who returned to veterinary practice in the UK after serving as AVC’s first Research Chair in Animal Welfare—this inaugural series of webinars will be held in February and March 2016, and is designed for “the trenches” of practice. Dr. Hewson has developed practical and evidence-based training and resources in client care for animals’ end-of-life and has delivered several webinars on these topics as invited teacher for the UK-based Webinar Vet’s 2015 Expertise series.


cost: Early Bird Offer until MONday, FEBRUARY1 $20 per webinar, or $50 for all three

From Tuesday, February 2 $30 per webinar, or $75 for all three Note: Those who are unable to attend the webinars live may still register for the series and view them afterwards. 8


Tuesday, February 23, 2016 Euthanasia Decision-Making Although euthanasia is the final common pathway of many diseases, euthanasia decision-making receives little attention in CE. This introductory webinar helps plug this gap. No dry ethical theory here! Instead, it offers you a simple framework by which you and your clients may more clearly discern each animal’s best interests—so you don’t euthanize too soon or too late. CE credits: 1 hour

Tuesday, MArch 1, 2016 Handling Difficult End-Of-Life Discussions When we disagree with our clients over the end-of-life pathway, it can mean a delayed or otherwise more difficult death for animals, and significant distress for us and our clients. This webinar builds on the first in this series. It updates you on how physicians handle similar conflicts, and reviews psychosocial aspects of pet loss. You will leave with core ethics and communication insights, and a fivestep approach, so you can handle these demanding consultations with greater peace of mind. CE credits: 1 hour

Tuesday, MARCH 8, 2016 REDUCING IN-PATIENT stress: Better results for your patients and your bottom line Busy days get busier when an in-patient has half-chewed out their catheter and is now chewing you out… This webinar tells you evidence-based ways to minimize in–patient stress so everyone feels better, and your clients don’t drift away saying “S/he never used to mind coming in here, before coming in for that surgery.” CE credits: 1 hour

Dr. Caroline Hewson Following six years in mixed practice in the UK, Dr. Hewson obtained her PhD from the University of Guelph, Ontario, in 1997. From 2000 to 2006, she served as the inaugural Research Chair in Animal Welfare at the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre at the Atlantic Veterinary College. In addition to research and teaching, she was committed to translating academic knowledge into practice, e.g., she initiated the Animal Welfare Column of the Canadian Veterinary Journal, the AVC’s annual Animal Welfare in Practice conference, and the CVMA’s practical posters on analgesia. Returning to practice in the UK, she was nominated Pet Plan Vet of The Year in 2008, and continued her practical approach, this time by creating The Loss of Your Pet client packs in 2013. As The Pet Loss Vet, she now delivers evidencebased webinars, in-person training, and resources to help busy veterinary practices bridge the support gap with their bereaved clients and minimize the risk of vet-client disputes about patients’ end-of-life (

AWARDS Call for APplications—

2016 Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Graduate Scholarship Applications are invited for the 2016 Scholarship with a deadline of Friday, March 4 for decision April, 2016. Please go to for application and selection guidelines. Students may take up their award at any time of year, but they must do so within 12 months of the date of the letter of offer.

2015 Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Graduate Scholarship award winner The inaugural winner of the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Graduate Scholarship, Dr. Frédéric Chatigny, received the scholarship to pursue his Master of Science degree at the University of Prince Edward Island. Dr. Chatigny is working with Dr. Don Stevens, AVC Biomedical Sciences, to study the efficacy and side-effects of local anesthetics in fish, with the ultimate goal of mitigating pain associated with procedures commonly performed in fish. Dr. Chatigny obtained his veterinary degree from the Université de Montréal in 2014; he pursued his interests in laboratory animal medicine and welfare during and since veterinary school. He began his master’s program at UPEI in September.

Presenter Dr. Alice Crook and Dr. Frédéric Chatigny at AVC Fall Awards Night

2015 Christofor Award in Animal Welfare She has also been active with the AVC Shelter Medicine Club, and participated in the AVC program to neuter feral cats. In the community, she has promoted welfare with emphasis on dog behaviour Mary-Claire Sanderson collects blood from a goat to test for brucellosis in and positive Mbarara, Uganda. Assisting her is Joseph Ahimbisibwe, a community leader and training— paravet with Veterinarians Without Borders. including working at the PEI Humane Society Fourth-year student Mary-Claire (PEIHS) as Coordinator of the AVC Sanderson received the 2015 Christofor Humane Dog Training Program Award in Animal Welfare at the AVC Fall (funded by the SJDAWC); giving public Awards Night. During her time at AVC, presentations at schools, libraries, Mary-Claire has pursued welfare-related Seniors College of PEI, a day-care, the activities at school, in the community, Dr. Tim Ogilvie AVC Vet Camp, 4-H, and internationally. At AVC, she was Scouts, Guides, and volunteer orientation treasurer and then president of the sessions at the PEIHS; and writing two Animal Welfare Club, helping to organize articles for the monthly Animal Talk the annual Animal Welfare in Practice column published by The Guardian. Says conference, as well as lunch time lectures.

Beckie MacLean, PEIHS Shelter Manager, “Mary-Claire exhibits strong, respectful, and compassionate leadership skills, as well as remarkable communication skills and empathy when working with the public…all in the name of promoting companion animal welfare.” Internationally, Mary-Claire travelled to Mbarara, Uganda, this past summer for a volunteer internship with Veterinarians Without Borders. There, she co-led a grassroots project to improve the lives of women and children in an impoverished rural area by encouraging goat husbandry, with an underlying emphasis that improving goat welfare would increase productivity and income. Mary-Claire’s dedication and active efforts to promote animal welfare make her a very deserving recipient of the 2015 Christofor Award. There is no doubt that she will carry this determination into her future veterinary practice. Congratulations, Mary-Claire!

Winter 2016


GRADUATE STUDENT news Cyril Roy • Congratulations to Cyril Roy who received his PhD degree from UPEI in 2015. Thesis title: Welfare of horses transported to slaughter in Canada and Iceland: assessment of welfare issues and associated risk factors.

Recent Publications •

2015. Welfare of horses transported to slaughter in Canada: Assessment of welfare and journey risk factors affecting welfare. Canadian Journal

Matthew Saab • Oral presentation: Biermann N, Saab M, Doyle AJ, McClure JT. 2015. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolated from equine patients at a veterinary teaching hospital in Atlantic Canada. 4th ASM-ESCMID Conference on methicillin-resistant Staphylococci in animals, Chicago, USA, November, 2015.

of Animal Science 95: 509-522. •

• Oral presentation: Richards S, VanLeeuwen J, Shepelo G, Gitau GK, Kamunde C, Uehlinger F, Wichtel J. 2015. Associations of farm management practices with annual milk sales on smallholder dairy farms in Kenya. 14th International Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics, Planning our Future, Merida, Mexico, November 2015. • Oral presentation: Richards S, Vanleeuwen J. 2015. Extension and development of current farming practices at the Wakulima Dairy Ltd (WDL). Mukurweini, Nyeri County, Kenya; presentations to member farmers and board of directors of the dairy

Roy RC, Cockram MS, Dohoo IR, Riley CB. 2015. Injuries in horses transported to slaughter in Canada. Canadian Journal of Animal Science

Shauna Richards • Oral presentation: Richards S, Vanleeuwen J. 2015. AVC Makes a Difference: Improving dairy farming in Kenya through welfare and nutrition. International Development Week, UPEI

Roy RC, Cockram MS, Dohoo IR.

95: 523-531. •

Roy RC, Cockram MS, Dohoo IR, Ragnarsson S. 2015. Transport of horses for slaughter in Iceland. Animal Welfare 24: 485-495.

Roy RC, Cockram MS. 2015. Patterns and durations of journeys by horses transported from the USA to Canada for slaughter. Canadian Veterinary Journal 56: 581-586.

Garde E, Pérez G, Vanderstichel R, Dalla Villa PF, Serpell JA.

Megan Robertson

Effects of surgical and chemical

• Oral presentation: Cameron M, Robertson M. 2015. Benchmarking cow comfort and lameness. Valacta workshops for dairy producers. Charlottetown and Summerside, PEI. October.

sterilization on the behavior of

• Oral presentation: Robertson M. 2015. Achieving meaningful improvements in dairy cow welfare through reduction of lameness. Atlantic Bovine Practitioners Association Annual Meeting, Moncton, NB. November.

Medicine. In press. http://www.


free-roaming male dogs in Puerto Natales, Chile. Preventive Veterinary S0167587715300544 •

Richards S, VanLeeuwen J, Shepelo G, Gitau GK, Kamunde C, Uehlinger

Katherine Mitchell

F, Wichtel J. 2015. Associations of

• Poster presentation: Mitchell K, Keefe G, Cameron M, Robertson M. 2015. A cow comfort tool to assess lameness and injury in dairy cattle. AVC Summer Research and Leadership Program. Aug. 31–Sept. 1.

farm management practices with annual milk sales on smallholder dairy farms in Kenya, Veterinary World, 8(1): 88-96.




Garde E, Vanderstichel R, Pérez G, Forzán M, Serpell J. 2015. The effect of surgical and chemical sterilization of male free-roaming dogs in southern Chile on behaviour and serum testosterone levels. 14th International Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics, Merida, Mexico, November 2015. Abstract in Proceedings. Cockram MS, Roy RC, Dohoo IR. 2015. Welfare of horses transported to slaughter in Canada: Assessment of welfare and journey risk factors affecting welfare. Canadian Society of Animal Science Meeting Abstracts, Ottawa, May 2015. Abstract P10.

AVC ANIMAL WELFARE CLUB Shannon Emmons, AVC Class of 2017, President, AVC Animal Welfare Club

The AVC Animal Welfare Club promotes animal welfare in the AVC community and all across the globe through the annual Animal Welfare in Practice conference (co-hosted with the SJDAWC), topical lunch lectures, and small grants to assist students attending animal welfare-related externships and the annual Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest. The Club aims to provide veterinary students and the larger AVC community with opportunities to expand knowledge of animal welfare and how it pertains to everyday life. There are currently 40 members, with events and lectures open to all students. The Club is very grateful to the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada for its ongoing support. You can find the Club’s page on Facebook.

OTHER NEWS 2015 Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest Five students—Ashley Butt, Kelsey Goodick, Elizabeth Moses, Mary-Claire Sanderson, and Jolene Vermeulen— participated in the 2015 Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest held at Ohio State University November 14-15. Each student was provided with contrasting scenarios for the management of llamas, Asian elephants, and urban versus rural draft horses. They were required to assess and evaluate the welfare of the animals in each situation and present their reasoning to a judge. There was also a live animal team assessment of Jersey dairy heifers. Dr. Michael Cockram, AVC Chair in Animal Welfare, was the team coach with additional specialty coaching at AVC from Drs. Kathleen MacMillan and Shawn McKenna. The AVC team finished sixth among twelve teams from nine veterinary schools in North America that participated in the veterinary division of the contest. Funding for the students’ expenses was provided through the SJDAWC Student Project Fund, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, UK.

Elizabeth Moses, Kelsey Goodick, Mary-Claire Sanderson, Jolene Vermeulen, and Ashley Butt

New PEI Animal Welfare Act PEI’s new Animal Welfare Act was passed in the PEI Legislature in July. This followed a comprehensive review of existing legislation in PEI and in other provinces by the PEI Department of Agriculture and Forestry, in consultation with the PEI Humane Society, Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre, PEI Veterinary Medical Association, and the livestock industry, with input from other groups as well. The goals were to reduce procedural delays, improve the protection offered to animals in the province, and modernize the legislation. The most significant change in the new Act is a move away from a “distressbased trigger,” as in existing PEI legislation. This means an animal has to be sick, injured, or in need of care before intervention can occur, which means a delay before an animal can receive the care and treatment it requires. The new Act moves to a standard of care model, which uses established codes of practice to set the minimum care an animal needs to live a healthy and comfortable life. A standard of care model allows animal welfare inspectors to intervene before an animal is sick or in distress, if it is determined that the owner of the animal is not providing the care outlined in the relevant code of practice. The new Act also prohibits cosmetic surgeries, specifically tail docking in dogs, horses, and cattle; ear cropping in dogs; and tail nicking and setting for horses. This confirms the policy of the PEI Veterinary Medical Association, adopted in 2009. The Animal Welfare Act may be viewed at pdf_chapter/65/1/chapter-2.pdf. The regulations accompanying the new Act are being finalized, after which it will be proclaimed in early 2016.

PEI Companion Animal Welfare Initiative (CAWI) Recent CAWI media initiatives include “Adopting Seniors” and “Cosmetic Surgery,” The Guardian, October 19 and November 16, respectively, and “Ticks and Lyme Disease,” CBC Island Morning, summer 2015. All features to date can be found at

Members of CAWI are the PEI Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre, PEI Humane Society, SpayAid PEI, PEI Cat Action Team, PEI Veterinary Medical Association, and PEI 4-H.

Winter 2016



Promoting animal welfare through research, service, and education

Many thanks to our supporters! We gratefully acknowledge the sustained financial support of The Christofor and The Sir James Dunn Foundations, without which the SJDAWC would not exist. We also thank the following organizations and individuals who have supported the SJDAWC within the last three years (and some for much longer than that):

The Pegasus Family Foundation, through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (Pegasus projects)

AVC Classes of 2011 and 2001 (Pegasus Helping Hand Fund)

The Atlantic Veterinary College

Mr. Glenn Loranger

Chinook Project: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; Ann McCain Evans; Rathlyn Foundation; Valley Veterinary Clinic, Goose Bay; the Mushuau Innu Band Council of Natuashish; Zoetis Animal Health; Iams/Eukanuba; BoehringerIngelheim; Vétoquinol; Air Labrador; Ms. Dorris Heffron; and the Victoria Kennel Club

Feral cat neutering projects: Zoetis Canada; Iams/Eukanuba

Halifax Veterinary Hospital, Spryfield Animal Hospital, Fairview Animal Hospital, Vetcetera Animal Hospital—in memory of clients’ pets

Dr. Lara Jamieson

Universities Federation of Animal Welfare, UK

Nutrience Pet Foods

Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association

The late Mr. David Madren

The late Ms. Kay Alexandor

Emerald Island Hunt


We are also grateful to the many generous individuals, veterinary hospitals, and other businesses, too numerous to mention, who have made a donation in memory of a beloved pet. All donations are fully tax deductible. To learn how you can support the SJDAWC, go to or write to: Dr. Alice Crook The Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre Atlantic Veterinary College, UPEI 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada C1A 4P3

Photo credits: UPEI Photography, A Crook, M Hopson, F de Bie, MC Sanderson, J Segers

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