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Success for the Atlantic Veterinary College at student contest with support from the UFAW LINKS scheme

5 December 2023

With support from UFAW, the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC), University of Prince Edward Island sent 10 veterinary students to the 23rd American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Animal Welfare Assessment Contest (AWJAC) in November 2023 where they won five awards.

Held at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in the USA, the contest consisted of three individual welfare assessments and a team scenario. For the individual welfare assessments, students were presented with three scenarios focusing on farmed bison, tortoises in a zoo and cage-free laying hens. Students were required to select which facility they felt encouraged better animal welfare and then deliver a three-minute oral presentation defending their choice. The presentation outlined the advantages and disadvantages of each facility alongside suggestions for further improving the animals’ welfare. For the team scenario, the students presented an animal welfare assessment of a laboratory rat facility to a panel of animal welfare experts.

In the individual welfare assessments, Catherine LeBlond was awarded second prize and Abigail Penney-Wiseman was awarded third prize. In the team scenario, the second year AVC team took first place. AVC placed as the first overall team (second-year team) and fifth overall team (first-year team).

Speaking about the experience, Abigail Penney-Wiseman said: “It was a great opportunity to put into practice what we were learning in our animal behaviour and welfare class.” Gabrielle Doron added: “It’s a very fun way to learn a lot about species that we do not get to learn about in our normal veterinary curriculum.” Kyra Norton concluded: “The contest provided a unique chance to connect with like-minded students and be able to speak to exerts in the field who had great advice for us about careers in animal welfare.”

The students’ attendance at the contest was supported through the UFAW LINKS Scheme. The scheme is our international outreach initiative that encourages engagement with animal welfare science at a global network of participating universities and colleges. If you would like some more information about the scheme or are interested or are interested in becoming a Link for your institution, please