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Monthly Newsletter: can make 2 columns: one with newsletter and 1 with everything else?

also, can import outlook calendar to google calendar, then link google to here

  • Congratulations to the Canadian coaches and student participants who attended the 2023 International Animal Welfare Assessment Contest

    The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) extends its congratulations to the Canadian coaches and student participants who attended the 2023 International Animal Welfare Assessment Contest (AWJAC) at the University of Wisconsin, Rivers Falls from November 17 to 19.  Read the full release on the CVMA website.

  • University of “Gwelfare” students successful at annual animal welfare competition

    The University of Guelph, known as the University of Gwelfare, has returned home victorious once again from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Animal Welfare Assessment Competition with multiple top-five finishes.

    Undergraduate, graduate and veterinary students flew to Wisconsin on Friday, November 17 alongside 24 other universities to visit the University of Wisconsin at River Falls to test their animal welfare assessment skills.

    The graduate team poses with their award alongside faculty advisor, Dr. Tina Widowski.

    This year, the competition saw students assess the welfare of laboratory rats, farmed bison, cage-free laying hens and tortoises in a zoo environment. Students work as individuals or in a team to present their findings to an expert panel of scientists and veterinarians who specialize in animal welfare.

    U of G teams are recruited each fall by coaches who lead the team: Professor Derek Haley from OVC’s Department of Population Medicine, and MSc student Lydia Conrad and Professor Tina Widowski of OAC’s Department of Animal Biosciences.

    Shortly after the fall semester starts, Haley and Widowski begin hosting information sessions to recruit students from across campus to join the team. Not long after the team has formed, the AVMA announce the four species that will be assessed in competition. Haley and Widowski work together to connect students with experts, farms and zoos in the area to study the welfare needs of each species and participate in mock assessments to enhance their skills ahead of competition.

    Students also benefit from having access to expertise and faculty from the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW) which provides some funding to the teams for travel costs helped by support from Saputo. Those who participate can put their learnings and practice towards course credit.

    “Participating students get a hands-on opportunity to take what they’re learning from peers, coaches and classes and use critical thinking in practice,” says Haley. “Students also take away some amazing skills they can use wherever they’re headed; learning to give feedback to their peers, presenting findings in a vulnerable setting, fortifying a team with the strengths of each individual and building relationships that stay with them long after competition.” 

    Read about the 2022 team’s success in the 2023 issue of The Crest.

    University of Guelph AVMA welfare assessment wins

    Team winners, Graduate Division

    • Third place: Sam Hartwig, Rachel Strassburger, Kandra Gillett and Mariah Crevier

    Individual winners, Veterinary Division

    • First place: Miranda Bie, OVC, Team Gold
    • Fifth place: Lucy Morrison, OVC, Team Red

    Team winners, Veterinary Division

    • Second place: OVC, Team Gold
    • Third place: OVC Team Red

    Read the full announcements from AVMA

    About the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare

    The Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, based at University of Guelph, is one of the largest research centres in the world focused on animal well-being. CCSAW has been promoting animal welfare through rigorous scholarship, inspirational education and evidence-based research for over 30 years.

    About the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

    Serving more than 100,000 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation’s leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members’ unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.

  • Dr. Courtney Graham Joins OVC’s Department of Clinical Studies

    On October 25, Dr. Courtney Graham will join the Ontario Veterinary College’s (OVC) Department of Clinical Studies as assistant professor in One Welfare.

    Dr. Courtney Graham

    Originally from British Columbia and a member of Snuneymuxw First Nation, Graham earned a BSc in Geography from the University of Victoria and an MSc in Applied Animal Biology from the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia. She went on to complete a PhD in Epidemiology and Companion Animal Behaviour in the Department of Population Medicine at OVC, studying the impacts of socialization and early experiences on fear behaviour in foster kittens. 

    Graham’s research interests include applied animal welfare and behaviour, with a focus on the behavioural development of companion kittens and cats and the human-animal bond. Her research merges quantitative and qualitative methods, incorporating the perspectives of foster parents and kitten caretakers to improve long-term animal welfare and maintain strong human-animal relationships. She has collaborated with the BC SPCA, RSPCA New South Wales, and UC Davis, and has sat on the board of the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada. 

    As assistant professor in One Welfare at OVC, Graham will contribute to emergent One Welfare initiatives at the University of Guelph with researchers from other Colleges, disciplines, and research groups, including the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, the Community Healthcare Partnerships Program, the Translation Institute, and the One Health Institute. The position engages researchers working with knowledge and ways of knowing that exceed or challenge Eurocentric knowledge paradigms.  

  • CCSAW Professor interviewed by Science News

    In a study published this month in Behavioural Processes, researchers tallied 276 different feline facial expressions, used to communicate hostile and friendly intent and everything in between. What’s more, the team found, we humans might be to thank: Our feline friends may have evolved this range of sneers, smiles, and grimaces over the course of their 10,000-year history with us.

    Dr. Georgia Mason provides a quote for the original piece which appears on’s website.

  • Social behaviour of dogs can signal illness

    Dogs can signal illness in subtle ways through their social behaviour, finds new research from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).

    In a study recently published in the Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, OVC and international researchers found dogs that are feeling unwell interacted less often with other dogs.

    “The behaviour of an animal is one of the best ways to assess their welfare,” said lead author Dr. Michael Brunt, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Population Medicine and researcher in The Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare.

    Dr. Michael Brunt

    The study involved observing the behaviour of 12 mature, female beagles in a controlled environment.

    The dogs were fed a mix of three diets, some contaminated with Fusarium mycotoxin, a toxin produced by mould and often found in cereal-based pet food that can cause a variety of ailments.

    Researchers then individually released the dogs into the centre aisle of a housing room for four minutes per day, observing their interactions with familiar dogs in adjacent kennels.

    They found the total number of interactions, orientation, and attempted physical contact with other dogs were less frequent among those that had consumed mycotoxins.

    Study an opportunity for develop AI, machine learning

    “There is no one who knows their dog better than the humans who live with them,” Brunt said. “You know when your dog isn’t itself.” A pet owner may not be able to articulate the exact symptoms a dog is experiencing, but they can sense changes in their behaviour.

    “With this study,” Brunt said, “we were able to pinpoint what some of those changes are, such as wanting to interact with other dogs less, or not seeking out social interactions with other dogs.”

    The changes were subtle, he said, but significant.

    “This is an opportunity to look at precision technologies and develop machine learning algorithms that could pick up those subtle changes in behaviour in a lab setting,” he explained.

    “It could be a way to identify subclinical illness before it compromises their welfare,” he added.

    Brunt stressed this study focused on one dog breed within a research environment; he would like to see further studies conducted with other breeds in a variety of environments.

    This research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

    This story was originally posted on the University of Guelph news site.

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