Canine Welfare Science Forum aims to build bridges to improve dog welfare

Friday, May 27, 2022

Bringing together people who have different points of view on issues such as canine welfare and dog breeding is a passion of Dr. Candace Croney, professor of animal behavior and welfare at Purdue University, who holds a joint post in the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture. This is because she sees the potential impact of collaboration between people who look beyond differences to recognize the vital importance of the common ground they share and the power they have to foster a meaningful change by working together constructively.

Following Dr. Croney’s vision, Purdue University will host a first-of-its-kind collaborative meeting between dog breeders and animal shelter leaders as part of the 2022 Canine Welfare Science Forum, taking place will be held June 24-25 at the Beck Agricultural Center in West Lafayette, Indiana. The in-person event will focus on the theme “Building Bridges to Improve Canine Wellness”. Additionally, a related but separate Research Mini-Symposium this Friday morning will include presentations of research findings on the welfare of dogs in commercial breeding kennels. And Friday night’s program will include a celebration of the first 100 Canine Care Certified Dog Breeders.

“The demand for dogs continues to grow, fueled by many factors including the myriad benefits of human-animal bonding and, recently, social distancing policies resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, says Dr Croney . “The high demand for dogs has led to the emergence of various markets for them, many of which raise significant new animal welfare concerns and potentially exacerbate existing ones. Growing demand combined with a limited supply is likely to drive up the costs of buying dogs and indirectly exacerbate disparities in human health and quality of life that already exist based on socioeconomic status. Dr Croney concludes: “There is therefore an urgent need for thought leaders and influencers from various sectors of the pet and animal housing and rescue industry to discuss how to address the need for ethical and sustainable sourcing and sourcing of dogs and collaboratively identify potential solutions.

The Canine Welfare Science Forum is organized by the Croney Research Group and features a variety of speakers specializing in various aspects of animal welfare. Dr Croney will open the program by introducing the topic of “Sustainable Pet Sourcing and the Role of Animal Welfare”. Attorney Mark Cushing, Founder and Managing Partner of Animal Policy Group, LLC, will then speak on the role of the veterinary community and other stakeholders, before Dr. Andrew Rowan of Animal Well-being International a presentation on the understanding of the dog. supply and demand statistics and their welfare implications.

The afternoon agenda concludes with a panel/roundtable bringing together thought leaders from veterinary medicine, animal welfare and dog breeding to discuss the topic “Sustainable and Ethical Sourcing for dogs: what does the future hold for us? Panel members will include Jim Tedford, Association for Animal Welfare Advancement; Dr. Andrew Rowan, Animal Well-being International; Dr. Kendall Houlihan, veterinarian and associate director of animal welfare at the American Veterinary Medical Association; Chris Fleming, co-owner of Pinnacle Pet; and Janet Donnelly of Wyndham Kennels.

Saturday’s program begins with a session led by Dr. Bret Marsh, Indiana State Veterinarian and Chief of the Indiana State Animal Health Council, who will speak about the challenges, progress and opportunities for commercial breeding in the United States. Next, veterinarian Denise Katz, of The LOVE Pet Project, will give a presentation titled “Biosecurity for Commercial Kennels 101: Protecting Canine Health and Minimizing Disease.” Dr. Meghan Herron, Senior Director of Behavioral Medicine, Education and Outreach at Gigi’s Behavioral Service, will wrap up the morning’s agenda by leading a session on “Behavioral Wellness in Kennels and livestock shelters.

Saturday afternoon’s programming will include a lecture by Dr. Kari Ekenstedt, Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Genetics at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, on “Genetics, Health and Wellness: What You Test and How should this information inform breeding decisions? This session will be followed by a panel discussion on “Responsible Rehabilitation: How to Create and Implement a Program that Produces Positive Outcomes for Dog Welfare”. Panel members will include Abbie Moore, COO of Petco Love and former CEO of; Dr. Denise Katz, of the LOVE Pet Project; Traci Shreyer, applied animal behaviorist at Animal Behavior Counseling Services and consultant to the Croney Research Group at Purdue; and Myron Yoder, Indiana Council for Animal Welfare.

Friday morning’s mini-symposium, which will be held virtually, includes several presentations on what has already been learned from scientific studies, including “Establishing science-based standards for the care and well-being of dogs in health facilities. ‘Commercial Livestock in the United States’, by Dr. Croney; and, “Socialization and stress; Implications for Rehoming,” by Dr. Judith Stella, of Good Dog, Inc. and former Purdue postdoctoral researcher and USDA APHIS Science Fellow. Additional lectures will be given by members of the Croney Research Group, including: “Welfare Metrics and Rehoming Outcomes,” by Dr. Aitor Arrazola, Postdoctoral Research Associate; “Caretaker Interactions,” by Joanna Rogowski, Graduate Research Associate; and “Maternal care and transporting puppies”, by Aynsley Romaniuk, PhD student. The morning program will conclude with an international speaker, Dr Gareth Arnott, from Queens University Belfast, who will address the theme of “Collaboration as a way to tackle challenges in Europe”.

Click here for more information and to register for the forum, mini-symposium and celebration of the first 100 certified Canine Care breeders. There is a registration fee, but students and legislators are welcome to attend the mini-symposium free of charge. Students are also entitled to reduced registration fees for the forum. Attendees to the Canine Care Certified First 100 Breeder Celebration are free.

Kevin Doer | [email protected]