The Saputo Dairy Cattle Welfare Rotation

A unique experience for trainee veterinarians

Farmers look to veterinarians for expertise about changing welfare standards, and for practical guidance on how to evaluate animal well-being, and how meet their industry’s animal care requirements. This week-long rotation helps young veterinarians take on that critical role. 

One of only two final-year rotations globally that focus on animal welfare, and unique in its ability to financially support visitors to Guelph, we welcome all students interests in animal welfare (even if not planning to practice bovine medicine). Rotation students can also return post-graduation, once in the workplace, to gain further experience and CE in our advanced Dairy Welfare Scholars’ Program.

As a result, this rotation attracts Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) students from across Canada, the United States and even Europe, creating a uniquely stimulating experiential learning environment where, in addition to learning about our Canadian standards, students learn about the importance of animal welfare in different countries / jurisdictions, and their respective regulations and assurance programs. 

What does the week involve?

Typically held every February and November, the week involves training and guidance by selected OVC clinicians and faculty (e.g. Todd Duffield and Derek Haley). Students carry out practical, hands-on welfare assessments on two commercial dairy farms. We typically also take students to a farm raising young calves (e.g. veal), and to a livestock auction market where dairy cull / market cows are sold. Typically rotation hours are 08:30 h to 17:00 h. There is no out-of-hours or on-call, although some work outside of set hours will be required to complete assignments. Evaluation is performed by the rotation coordinators, reflecting students’ performance in such competencies as basic welfare knowledge, applied welfare assessment skills, professionalism and ability to relate to colleagues and clients.

Funding and logistic support for visiting students

Thanks to Saputo sponsorship, financial support is available for non-OVC students’ travel and accommodation expenses to come to Guelph. Several meals are also provided throughout the week. For all students needing academic credit for their participation, we work with their university to make this happen. And for students whose veterinary programs’ rotation blocks are two weeks long, we can connect them with private veterinary clinics in Ontario if they would like our help booking a second week of study. 

Want to join us?

If you are interested in attending, want to know our next dates, or have any other questions, please complete this form to connect with us, or send an email to Dr. Léna Levison: